The 57-year-old “Purple Rain” singer was found dead at his Paisley Park home in Chanhassen, Minnesota, on Thursday, April 21, just one week after his plane made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois, to rush him to the hospital, where he was reportedly treated for flu-like symptoms.
“They don’t land planes for the flu,” Dr. Drew, 57, said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday, April 23. The TV personality explained that Prince’s respiratory distress, likely the result of a “combination of oral opiates and Benzodiazepines,” is “extraordinarily dangerous,” but added that doctors prescribe the combination of drugs “all the time.”
“[It] stops you from breathing and you die,” he said. “It’s easy for that to happen with that combination, even as prescribed.”
Earlier this week, TMZ reported that Prince overdosed on Percocet a few days before his death, requiring him to get a “save shot” from paramedics after his plane’s emergency landing. The seven-time Grammy winner was reportedly taking the painkillers following a 2010 hip surgery.
“Although opiates figure into this story, it doesn’t really sound like an addiction story,” Dr. Drew continued. “Even if it ends up being drugs that caused him to stop breathing, I would put it more in the accident category than the addiction category. But still, an otherwise healthy middle-aged man with hip pain should not be on opiates chronically. Period.”
Prince’s autopsy was completed on Friday, April 22, but the cause of death is still pending.
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