Investigating Prince’s “unwitnessed death”

There’s a 13-and-a-half hour gap between when Prince was last seen alive to when he was found dead

Photo Courtesy: CNN

(CNN) – The superstar who kept so much of his life in private, shielded from the public, apparently died much the same way; alone, in what investigators are calling an “unwitnessed death.”

As investigators are working to piece together the singer’s final hours, there are new questions about his final days.


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6-days before Prince’s death, a private jet, believed to have the singer on-board, made an emergency landing at the Quad Cities Airport in Moline, Illinois. CNN has obtained an audio-recording between two controllers and the pilot.

Controller 1: “What’s the nature of the emergency? What’s the nature of the condition?”
Controller 2: “An unresponsive passenger.”
Controller: “990 do you know, male or female passenger?”
Plane: “it’s a male passenger.”

Prince was rushed to the hospital after an emergency landing at that airport the same day.

Former Assistant FBI Director Tom Fuentes said, “I would want to know who was on the plane, what happened on the plane, what did they see? What did they say? And then when he was taken to the hospital, what happened there, what did the doctors say?”

Prince was later released from the hospital and returned to his home in Minnesota.


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Just before that incident, Prince had performed in Atlanta. He was seen carrying a cane. The pop-star had suffered from a bad hip. Key questions now center on whether Prince had been treated for pain.

(Are you able to confirm whether Prince was taking any medication at the time of his death?) Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson replied, “I am not able to confirm that at this time at all.”

Friends say if drugs were involved in his death, it would be especially surprising. The 57-year-old was known for his healthy lifestyle. He was a vegan and was not known for partying or drug-use.

One specialist says patients on strong pain medication, even if healthy, could lapse into unresponsive states, from the side-effects.

According to Dr. Leeann Rhodes of MedStar Washington Hospital, “It can be slight confusion, especially as somebody adapts to beginning to take it, to profound sedation, unresponsiveness. And if they’re taking it way over the prescribed amount, they can even stop breathing.”

CNN has not confirmed if Prince was on any pain medication, and police have remained tight lipped.


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Meantime, police have also not provided details on another apparent mystery: The 13-and-a-half hour gap, between when Prince was last seen alive, Wednesday evening, and the time he was found unresponsive in an elevator at his 55,000 square foot home and recording studio, Paisley Park, Thursday morning.

The Sheriff says Prince was alone for at least part of that period, but CNN analyst Tom Fuentes says that should be corroborated. “Did the residence have cameras? Does it show if anybody came into the residence? We have reports that he was dropped off approximately 8pm the evening before and went into the residence, and that he may have been there alone. But is there any other evidence to show that someone else came to the residence?”

CNN has reached out to investigators and to Prince’s representatives with those questions. So far they’ve not responded. Kerry Gordy, who once helped run Paisley Park, has said he believes there were security cameras on the premises, but he doesn’t remember specifically.


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