This year has been filled with awful celebrity deaths. In particular, the death of Prince sparked an incredible mourning period across the nation. April 21st marks the fateful day rock legend accidentally overdosed on an opioid painkiller, fentanyl. But only recently has his protégé for the last two years, Judith Hill, opened up to the NY Times about his painkiller overdose days before his fatal accident.
On April 15th, Prince, Hill, and another friend named Kirk Johnson were headed towards Paisley Park, where Prince owned an estate near Minneapolis. As they were nearing their destination, Hill watched Prince fall unconscious in the middle of dinner. Retrospectively, she says she was fortunate to be watching him because if she had glanced away for even a moment, she might have assumed he was just sleeping. But Hill describes Prince with “his eyes fixed” and when he lost consciousness, she immediately knew something was wrong.
Hill got Johnson to help, but they couldn’t lift Prince from his unconsciousness. They alerted the pilot, who called for emergency services and performed an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois. There, an ambulance and paramedics awaited them. Meanwhile, Hill continued to attempt to revive Prince by calling his name and shaking him.
In the ambulance, Prince was revived with a shot of Narcan, which is generally used for opioid overdoses. By the time the group arrived at the hospital, the star was awake and talking. This was a huge relief, Hill says, “because I thought he was gone.” Hill says she had no idea what caused Prince’s condition on the flight. Retrospectively, this was the first major sign of his decline and his death a week later.
Hill and Prince were very close, with Hill describing it as “a very intense relationship. I deeply cared for him.” After winning a Grammy for her work in an Oscar-awarded documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, Hill met Prince and was invited to jam with him in Paisley Park. They became collaborators, with his influence on her 2014 album Back In Time. But the duo was also good friends who respected each other and enjoyed each other’s company.
Hill knows that Prince’s influence will stay with her throughout life. “He was such a warrior, and it’s inspiring me to be that person,” she remembers.
[H/T: NY Times]