Sheila E. is speaking out about her longtime friend and musical collaborator Prince on the one-year anniversary of his death. In an interview with Yahoo’s Katie Couric, Sheila revealed that she is still reeling from the “Purple Rain” singer’s sudden death at age 57 following an accidental fentanyl overdose last April 21.
Sheila E. told Couric that when she got the terrible news, she got on the first flight to Minneapolis and headed to the music legend’s Paisley Park estate, where he was found dead.
While an ongoing investigation has revealed that Prince was in possession of prescriptions to opioid painkillers before his death, Sheila E. said she had “no idea” Prince was struggling with addiction to painkillers because he “hid it so well.” Sheila said she had never even heard of the drug that Prince overdosed on.
Sheila also said she still struggles with the circumstances surrounding Prince’s death because he was a person “that was always in control.”
“Why would he do something that would jeopardize his life? It doesn’t make sense to me,” Sheila said.
Sheila E. also reflected on what she misses most about her longtime friend.
“Just calling on the phone, just hanging out,” Sheila said.
“We loved sports, so we would, we’re very competitive. We would play ping pong, pool, basketball. We’d go to the movies, hang out, just, you know, kind of like normal things…besides the music, just normal things. We talked about, you know, what are we going to do in 10 years or where the world’s going to be and, you know, just everything.”
Sheila E. isn’t the only one of Prince’s protégés to pay tribute to him on the anniversary of his death. Apollonia Kotero, who co-starred with the music icon in the 1984 movie Purple Rain, posted a tribute to Instagram.
“I love u Prince,” she wrote. “I miss u so much. Your entire Purple Rain Family is here in your home to celebrate your life. Morris and I cried last nite. Today there will be more tears shed. Goodnight my sweet Prince and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
In addition to Sheila E. and Apollonia, Prince’s “Purple Rain” co-star and The Time alum Morris Day reflected on the day of his untimely death. Day told Billboard he was in the recording studio with Snoop Dogg when they got the terrible news. Day went on to record the ballad “Over the Rainbow” in memory of his friend, but he admitted he almost couldn’t get through the song.
“I was in the studio with Snoop working on some music when we got word that Prince had passed. It kind of detoured us,” Day told Billboard.
“One of the songwriters involved in the process presented me with the song ‘Over That Rainbow’ and at first I said, ‘Yo it’s a beautiful song but I can’t sing that song — it’s way too emotional, I like to keep my cool in check.’ But it grew on me, and I eventually did do it.”
Day also told Entertainment Weekly that, going forward, any music he makes “is really going to honor” Prince’s legacy because that’s where it all started for him.
“Whether it’s directly related or not, it’ll still be in his honor,” the singer said.
Sheila E. and Prince’s other musical collaborators were joined by many other celebrities and fans from all over the world who honored the late musician.
Thank you for bringing us together Prince… #AllOfUs #PurpleReign #Repost @akkleini ・・・ You orchestrated, tweaked and arranged all our lives for the better, always….just like you did with your music and art. A true alchemist in every way. Never by chance, never by accident, always in the present moment. I see that now so very clearly. You always saw the entire puzzle: past, present and future. Thank you. For the lessons taught, the conversations had, the laughs procured, the compassion given, the pancakes made, the ice cream served, and the genius, music and advice shared. It feels so unreal to have lost you a year ago? But then again, I think we never have…for the ripple effects of your alchemy still play out in my life today and those lessons and friendships will forever live on in my heart. This is to you, you purple magic force of love, light and music. ✨????????✨I know you're singing and dancing in another dimension right this very moment. #Prince #alchemy #celebratelife #sometimesitsnowsinapril #magic #present
Take a look at the video below to see Sheila E. talking about the sudden death of her close friend and collaborator.
[Featured Image by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images]