20 Apr 2018

No criminal charges for death of pop star Prince

7:51 am on 20 April 2018

No criminal charges will be filed in the 2016 death of pop star Prince from an opioid overdose, a Minnesota prosecutor says.

Prince performs in 2015

Photo: AFP / FILE

Carver County attorney Mark Metz told a news conference that after two-year inquiry there "simply" was not enough evidence to charge anyone.

"Nothing in the evidence suggests Prince knowingly ingested fentanyl," Metz said, adding there was "no evidence that the pills that killed Prince were prescribed by a doctor".

Evidence suggested Prince thought he was taking the prescription drug, Vicodin, when in fact he was taking a counterfeit Vicodin pill laced with fentanyl.

Prince was 57 at the time he was found dead at his Paisley Park home and recording studio complex near Minneapolis on 21 April, 2016. The official cause of death was a self-administered overdose of the painkiller fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin.

Prince had experienced significant pain for a number of years, and hundreds of painkillers of various types were found at his house.

Some of the drugs were prescribed by a doctor in his bodyguard's name to protect the singer's privacy, Mr Metz added.

It was also revealed the doctor in question had paid a $30,000 fine as part of a civil settlement over accusations of illegally prescribing painkillers to Prince. However, investigators said this was not the drug that killed the pop star.

A singer, songwriter, arranger and multi-instrumentalist, Prince recorded more than 30 albums. His best known hits include Let's Go Crazy and When Doves Cry. He was a prolific writer and performer from a young age, reportedly writing his first song when he was seven

During the 1980s, Prince emerged as one of the most singular talents of the rock and roll era, capable of tying together pop, funk, folk, and rock. Not only did he release a series of ground-breaking albums, he toured frequently, worked as a producer, and wrote songs for many other artists.

Shortly after his death, former Replacements' frontman and fellow Minneapolis native Paul Westerberg wrote in Rolling Stone that his death was "a reminder of how fragile we all are and how quick life is".

"I've spent more time with Bob Dylan, and I've got to say that I was more in awe of Prince," he said.

"I can't think of anyone better - an all-around composer, musician, guitarist, star, showman, the whole package, anyone better. If Elvis wrote all of his songs and played guitar, it still wouldn't quite be there."

- Reuters and BBC