Prince was found unresponsive Thursday morning in an elevator at his suburban Minneapolis compound. The local sheriff said deputies responded to a medical call at 9:43 a.m. that morning but that first-responders couldn’t revive the 57-year-old musician. He was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m.
The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office was handling the autopsy, but the agency doesn’t plan to release any preliminary information, agency spokeswoman Martha Weaver said Friday. She said it could take several days or weeks for tests to be completed and the office will wait to release findings until all the information is in.
He sat at his piano for most of the show, but stood up at times to pound the keys and walked around the piano a couple of times, soaking up cheers.
Prince had struggled with hip problems and childhood epilepsy. His former percussionist, Sheila E., told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday that Prince damaged his hips while performing, saying he jumped off risers while wearing high heels during his “Purple Rain” days and that “it damaged parts of his body.” Prince was seen in recent years using a cane.
Prince revealed in a 2009 interview with Tavis Smiley that he was “born epileptic” and had seizures when he was young. It’s unclear if his epilepsy carried into adulthood.
Prince, a Jehovah’s Witness, had a reputation for clean living. In 2009, he told an interviewer with the Los Angeles Times that he didn’t do drugs “or I’d give you a joint” to share while they listened to music.
After the Atlanta performance, Prince hosted a dance party on April 16 at his Paisley Park compound in Minnesota.
Jeremiah Freed, who runs the website drfunkenberry.com and who got to know Prince after writing about him over the years, said he last saw Prince at the dance party. Freed said he believed Prince held the party to show everyone he was fine.
Freed said Prince made a brief appearance but that he didn’t have one-on-one time with the musician that night. Freed said the artist showed off a new purple piano he had received as a gift, as well as a purple guitar, but seemed upset about the reports of an illness.
“When he had to talk about the stories going on, he didn’t seem too pleased. It was kind of like, ‘I’m here. I’m good,'” Freed said, adding that Prince told the crowd: “Just wait a few days before saying your prayers.”
Lars Larson, a 37-year-old Minneapolis man who worked security for Prince and at Paisley Park events for about six years, said he attended the same party. Larson said the singer briefly appeared on stage and spoke to the crowd before standing by the sound board for 20 minutes then disappearing for the night.
“He seemed great. He looked like Prince,” he said. “The whole point of the show on Saturday was to show he was doing all right.”
This story has been corrected to show that Prince’s 2009 interview was in the Los Angeles Times, not the New York Times.
Associated Press writers Paul Newberry in Atlanta, and Kevin Burbach and Doug Glass in Minneapolis contributed to this report, along with AP researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York.