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Prince‘s deadly opiate addiction was triggered by a painful stage accident in 1984, according to a new biography published Tuesday.
In Nothing Compares 2 U: An Oral History of Prince, author Touré writes that the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer hurt his back while rehearsing for his iconic Purple Rain tour, the New York Post reports. Prince planned to sing a song while sitting in a bathtub 10 feet off the ground. While rehearsing the scene, the bathtub broke.
“It fell 10 or 12 feet with him in it. I never moved so fast in my life,” recalls Alan Leeds, Prince’s tour manager at the time. “After that, his back hurt day after day. Then in LA, he slipped and hurt his knee. He got some meds and finished the tour, but I don’t think his hip and his leg were ever completely normal after that.”
Prince died April 21, 2016, from an accidental overdose of the synthetic opioid fentanyl. According to the book, he depended on opiates for several years to relieve his pain.
“His use of pain pills was probably longer than maybe some of us might have thought because, when he started getting his aches and pains, I think he really relied on it,” says Wendy Melvoin, guitarist for The Revolution. “And he was little. I think it just got worse for him over time.”
Jill Jones, a former background vocalist who also dated Prince, says that when he died at Paisley Park, there were “thousands of pills all over the building.”
“I felt the whole fentanyl thing was just him escaping pain from the hip,” says Brown Mark, The Revolution’s bassist, “and it got out of hand.”
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