Medical Examiner Says Prince Died of Accidental Overdose

June 2, 2016, 7:21 PM UTC
Prince performs during the "Pepsi Halftime Show" at Super Bowl XLI between the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears on February 4, 2007 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Photograph by Jed Jacobsohn — Getty Images

More than a month after the iconic musician known as Prince’s surprising death, a Minnesota medical examiner says the star died of an accidental fentanyl overdose.

The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office said in a press release on Thursday that its investigation into the death of the artist—whose real name was Prince Rogers Nelson—revealed “fentanyl toxicity” as the cause of death for Prince. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid often prescribed as a pain reliever. Earlier on Thursday, the Associated Press had reported that an anonymous law-enforcement official said the star died of an opioid overdose.

Prince’s death on April 21 came under mysterious circumstances, though some of the theories that surfaced in the wake of his passing raised the possibility of some type of drug overdose. Also, less than a week before he died, Prince’s plane made an emergency stop so he could seek medical treatment following a performance in Atlanta.


While many friends have described Prince as leading a clean lifestyle, former collaborator Sheila E. also stated publicly after Prince’s death that the artist suffered from various physical ailments related to years of performing.

Since Prince’s death, questions have also been raised about the fate of his estate, which is reportedly worth more than $100 million. The artist’s court-appointed estate administrator has claimed that no will for the musician has been found and court documents filed by Prince’s sister, Tyka Nelson, at the end of April listed a total of six sibling or half-siblings as the artist’s heirs. Meanwhile, people have also been coming out of the woodwork with paternity claims and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported on Thursday that the estate’s special administrator is still working on verifying claims from various potential additional heirs.