NEW YORK (AP) _ Singer and Prince protege Judith Hill says she was on a plane with Prince when it made an emergency landing in Illinois after the superstar lost consciousness less than a week before his death.
Hill told The New York Times (http://nyti.ms/28NJCRf ) for a story posted online Tuesday that she was “very freaked out” when Prince lost consciousness in the middle of a conversation. She said his eyes fixed before he nodded off.
“Thankfully, I happened to be looking into his face,” she said, adding that she might have thought he had simply fallen asleep if she hadn’t been looking at him.
Hill told the newspaper that she shook the 57-year-old Prince and called his name while the plane descended to Moline, Illinois.
“We knew it was only a matter of time; we had to get down,” Hill said. “We didn’t have anything on the plane to help him.”
A law enforcement official who spoke to The Associated Press has said Prince was found unconscious on the plane, and first responders gave him a shot of Narcan, an antidote used in suspected opioid overdoses, while he was on the tarmac. The official spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak to the media.
Hill told the Times Prince was awake and talking by the time they arrived at a hospital. She said it was the first time she’d ever seen him in distress.
Prince “was quick on his feet,” she said. “Never said anything, that this is hurting, never a sign of struggle. That’s why it’s all very shocking.”
She said Prince was like his old self in the hospital room after the incident.
“He wasn’t dreary or drowsy, or anything,” she said.
Prince was found dead on April 21 at his Minneapolis-area estate. Autopsy results showed he died of an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl. Hill said she woke up to texts from friends that day.
“That was definitely the worst day of my life,” she said.
Hill has declined interview requests from The Associated Press.
Associated Press writer Michael Tarm contributed to this report from Chicago.
Information from: The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com