Prince’s Death: What We Know So Far – ABC News
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It’s been nearly two weeks since Prince was found dead in his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota, and, since then, several story lines showing another side of the musical genius have emerged.
The latest development comes from Minneapolis attorney William Mauzy — who represents prominent California addiction specialist Dr. Howard Kornfeld — who said at a press conference Wednesday that Prince had arranged to meet with Kornfeld the day before the singer died. Minnesota law enforcement officials are looking into this revelation.
But this paints a different picture of the late singer: Earlier reports, citing interviews with former employees, maintained that Prince led a strictly clean lifestyle.
Also on Wednesday, following Mauzy’s press conference, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Federal Drug Enforcement Agency announced they are joining the Carver County Sheriff’s investigation.
Reps for the late singer did not respond immediately to ABC News’ request for comment.
News of possible prescription drug abuse was not the only surprising development during the days following Prince’s death on April 21 at age 57. The man who once fought to control his own music catalog appears to have died without a will, leaving his multi-million dollar estate up for grabs.
With so many developments in the last two weeks, here is what we know so far since his death:
On Wednesday, the reality of Prince as a prescription drug user became much more plausible.
The day before he died, the late singer’s representatives reached out to Dr. Kornfeld, and set up an initial meeting between the two, Kornfeld’s Minneapolis attorney, William Mauzy, said Wednesday. Mauzy said the doctor couldn’t leave right away so he sent his son Andrew, who flew out that night.
The next morning, Andrew Kornfeld called 911 after he and and two staffers found Prince unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park studio complex, the lawyer said.
The account comes on the heels of reports that law enforcement officials are looking into whether Prince died of an overdose.
With federal officials joining the investigation, it seems even more apparent that this is the angle law enforcement is pursuing.
“The DEA and U.S. Attorney’s Office are able to augment this local investigation with federal resources and expertise about prescription drug diversion,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement Wednesday.
Cause of death
Since the singer was found unresponsive in an elevator inside his Paisley Park estate in Chanhassen, Minnesota, the morning of April 21, investigators have been searching for a cause of death.
An autopsy was performed the day after Prince’s death, but its findings, including toxicology results, are not expected for weeks.
Prince had a reputation for a clean and healthy lifestyle. He became a Jehovah’s Witness later in life and worshipped at a Kingdom Hall just outside Minneapolis, knocked on doors and even kept a “swear jar” in his Paisley Park home.
Days after his death, his longtime attorney L. Londell McMillan disputed suggestions that he had a drug addiction.
“People use medication. The question is, are you on meds in a dangerous way?” he said, noting that Prince was a vegan.
“Everybody who knows Prince knows he wasn’t walking around drugged up,” McMillan said. “That’s foolish. No one ever saw Prince and said, ‘He looks high.’ It wasn’t what he was about.”
The singer’s assistant until last year, Mariah Brown, 25, told The Associated Press that Prince didn’t even drink, and she never saw him take any pills, nor did she get any on his behalf.
“He was a very, very healthy person,” she told The AP Tuesday.
But less than a week after the singer’s death, authorities obtained a search warrant for Prince’s Paisley Park estate. The paperwork, which is under seal, was filed one day after law enforcement sources told ABC News that prescription drugs had been found in Prince’s possession and at his home.
Sources also told ABC News that investigators are looking into whether Prince died from an overdose and whether a doctor was prescribing him drugs in the weeks beforehand. Investigators are especially interested in the circumstances surrounding the emergency landing that Prince’s plane made in Illinois less than a week before the star died. At the time, his rep told ABC News that the singer had been rushed to the hospital in Illinois, where he was treated for the flu.
Days after his death, Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson filed paperwork stating that she did not believe her late brother had a will and that decisions about his business interests needed to be made.
The following day, a Minnesota judge determined that Prince died “intestate” or without a will, which means his sister and five surviving half-siblings stand to inherit his multi-million dollar estate if state law is adhered to. The Carver County probate judge appointed Bremer Trust, a Saint Cloud, Minnesota, company that had handled the singer’s financial affairs when he was alive, as special administrator of the late musician’s estate
While still searching for a will, the team of financial advisers has begun the process with the family of sorting out what will happen with the singer’s estate.
Meanwhile, Heirs Hunters International, a company that searches for possible heirs to estates, told ABC News’ “Good Morning America” that many people have come forward claiming to be sons and daughters of the late music icon.
So far, one man’s story has piqued the company’s interest, and an investigation has been launched. “He was born in the Eighties and his mother crossed paths with Prince a couple times,” co-owner John Hilbert said.
The company also found two more potential heirs they described as a “niece” and a “teenage grandniece,” who is the granddaughter of one of Prince’s half-brothers, Duane, who died years ago. They would each receive one-fourteenth of Prince’s estate.
On Top of the Charts Again
Though the value of Prince’s assets, including real estate and cash, are still unknown, it’s sure to have increased since his death. Millions of songs and well over half a million albums have been sold since his passing. The late musician also set a new Billboard record, with five albums appearing concurrently in the Top 10.
Besides royalties from more than 30 albums he recorded, there’s the trove of unheard recordings recently unearthed from a vault in his Paisley Park mansion. There’s said to be so many recordings that an album a year could be released for the next century.
Previously, Prince spoke openly about his treasure trove of music on “The View” in 2012. “One day, someone will release them,” he said “I don’t know that I’ll get to release them. There’s just so many.”
Prince’s Death: What We Know So Far – ABC News