Legendary musician died April 21 at his Minnesota home

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What killed Prince is no longer a mystery.

The legendary singer died from an accidental overdose of the opioid fentanyl, a medical examiner concluded. Prince self-administered the fentanyl, and died from its toxicity, the report said Thursday.

What’s still unknown is how Prince got fentanyl, one of the strongest opioid painkillers available. Was it prescribed by a doctor? Was it a legal prescription? Did he get it from someone else?

Federal prosecutors and the Drug Enforcement Administration are seeking answers to those questions, the agencies said.

An investigation into Prince’s death is ongoing. If the medication turns out to be illegally obtained, it will change into a criminal investigation, authorities said.


The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office report highlighted the role fentanyl played in the singer’s death.

Prince Rogers Nelson died in April at age 57 after he was found unresponsive in an elevator at his home and recording studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

The medical examiner’s report did not provide much detail on Prince’s death. Under “how injury occurred,” the report said “the decedent self-administered fentanyl.” For manner of death, a box was marked for “accident.”

The report did not specify how the drug was taken and whether the fentanyl was prescribed or illegally made.

No autopsy results

The music superstar was 5-foot-2 and weighed 112 pounds when he died, the report said. A full autopsy and toxicology reports will not be released, the medical examiner’s office said.

Doctors mostly prescribe fentanyl for cancer treatment. It is often made illicitly and is blamed for a spike in overdose deaths in the United States.

The drug is 25 to 50 times more potent than heroin and 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Alleged abuse of drugs

Since his death, information has emerged about the entertainer’s alleged abuse of prescription drugs.

Prince saw a doctor a day before he died and a few weeks prior to that, leading to more unanswered questions. Investigators have not found any indication he had a valid prescription for any recovered opioid medications.

The entertainer was found with opioid medication at the time of his death, a law enforcement source told CNN’s Evan Perez in April.

Prince’s half-siblings said the singer had an addiction to Percocet — another opioid — decades before he died, their attorney said.

One said Prince started using the drug to help him deal with the rigors of performing, not for recreational use.

Potential overdose

Even before his accidental overdose on April 21, there appears to have been another incident.

On his way home after performing in Atlanta on April 15, Prince’s plane made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois and he was taken to a hospital. A law enforcement official told CNN he was treated for a potential overdose of pain medication.

The day before he died, his team called an opioid addiction specialist in California, seeking help for the singer, according to an attorney for the specialist and his son.

The specialist, Dr. Howard Kornfeld, couldn’t get there immediately so he sent his son, Andrew Kornfeld, on an overnight flight to Minnesota. The goal was for the son to help evaluate Prince’s health and encourage him to enter treatment for pain management and potential addiction issues, attorney William Mauzy said.

By the time Andrew Kornfeld arrived at the singer’s complex on the morning of April 21, it was too late. Prince was found unresponsive in an elevator. Andrew Kornfeld called 911, his attorney said.

It’s unclear whether Andrew Kornfeld is the subject of a separate investigation.


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