Prince’s Death Ruled Accidental, No Criminal Charges Will Be Filed

Chris O'Meara, FileAP Images

Prince’s death has been ruled accidental, and no criminal charges will be filed in the legendary rock star’s death, CNN is reporting.

Prince (real name: Prince Rogers Nelson), died almost exactly two years ago (April 21, 2016, to be specific), of an opiate overdose. Specifically, he took a counterfeit Vicodin pill (Vicodin is a powerful opioid narcotic painkiller) that had been laced with Fentanyl. Fentanyl, like Vicodin, is a powerful opioid narcotic painkiller. So powerful, in fact, that it’s been described as being 100 times more potent than heroin.

How the “Purple Rain” singer came to be in possession of the counterfeit pill is unclear, however. And after two years of investigating, authorities deemed that there was no evidence indicating how Prince got a hold of that pill. Nor did anyone associated with him know how he got it (or if they did, they didn’t admit it). Because of this, says Carver County (Minnesota) attorney Mark Metz, no criminal charges will be filed.

“Prince had no idea he was taking a counterfeit pill that could kill him.”

By the time of his death at age 57, Prince had been suffering from opiate addiction for decades, according to a March Daily Mail report. Year after year after year of exuberant stage shows, in which he was known to jump around the stage, often from stage sets that were dangerously high, had taken their toll on his body, to say nothing of the fact that he still performed with such enthusiasm even though he was pushing 60. He was in near-constant pain, according to his ex-wife, Mayte Garcia.

What’s more, the couple tragically lost a child, who died two days after he was born. The pain of that loss exacerbated the rock star’s addiction.

A few days before he died, Prince was on his private plane heading home to Minneapolis from an Atlanta concert when he lost consciousness and his plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Illinois. His friends tried to get him help at a California addiction clinic but were unsuccessful.

Although no criminal charges will be filed in Prince’s death, his personal physician, Dr. Michael Schulenberg, has found himself answering awkward questions about Prince’s addictions. Rather than help his patient get the treatment he needed, federal authorities said the physician fraudulently prescribed Prince painkillers in a fake name.

Besides using fake names to procure his drugs, Prince apparently secured his drugs through “other ways.” Authorities searching his home and studio found drugs in prescription bottles under a false name, as well as drugs in unlabeled bottles and plastic bags.

Schulenberg, for his part, was never charged with any crimes. He did, however, pay $30,000 to settle civil allegations that he’d written fraudulent prescriptions in someone else’s name so Prince could obtain them.