Prince’s Bodyguard Speaks: He Didn’t Abuse Painkillers

Paying his respects. Prince's bodyguard Chris Gaither opened up about the late icon following a private memorial for the singer at Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall in Hopkins, Minnesota, on Sunday, May 15.

Gaither, known to many as "Romeo," worked for Prince since 2012. On Sunday, he told CNN that the star sent him home to Texas for a week last month, which is something Prince did when he wanted to rest. Days later, on April 21, Gaither got a phone call telling him that Prince had died at the age of 57.

Prince Vince Bucci/Getty Images

"I immediately stopped what I was doing. I couldn't concentrate on anything I was doing after that," Gaither recalled to CNN. "I went all over the world with him. And suddenly he was just gone."

He added: "I was Prince's bodyguard up until the day he died."

Prince was also remembered at a memorial service organized by his two ex-wives, Manuela Testolini and Mayte Garcia, in L.A. on May 11. Gaither said that the one held over the weekend was "fitting for someone as well known" as the late singer. "It was truly beautiful," he told CNN. "We acknowledged his memory and his presence and everything that he's done for this world and for generations to come."

The "Purple Rain" singer was addicted to painkillers in the years before his death, because of pain he suffered from a hip strain. Gaither, however, refutes reports that Prince was dependent on medication.

"I packed this man's bag on the daily. I have been on tour with him for months. So if anybody had an addiction that would be something you would see. That would be something that you would know," Gaither told CNN.

"He may have had an issue where he had to go to the doctor and they prescribed something for him, but as far as him abusing stuff, that's not him. When it comes to health, he's the fittest person," he continued. "Only time doctors would come in, they would give him a B-12 shot, something like that, when he might have been feeling sick or low on energy. But other than that, he wasn't taking stuff. He had more energy than everybody just off his natural presence."

As previously reported, law enforcement told the Associated Press last month that prescription drugs were found in Prince's possession when he died. His autopsy was completed on April 22, but the results are pending.

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