Prince arranged an initial meeting with a California doctor who specializes in addiction treatment the day before he died, a Minneapolis lawyer for the doctor said Wednesday. (May 4) AP
The latest on the investigation into the singer's death, his estate and tributes:
5:30 p.m. ET: Add Jamie Lee Curtis to the celebrity ex-addicts coming out in the wake of Prince's sudden death, possibly as a result of prescription painkillers.
She wrote she was once addicted to painkillers, but has been "in recovery" for 17 years.
"I, too, took too many at once. I, too, sought to kill emotional and physical pain with pain killers. Kill it. Make it stop," she said. "Most people who become addicted, like me, do so after a prescription for a painkiller following a medical procedure. Once the phenomenon of craving sets in, it is often too late."
Scores of others, famous and not, have sought the same relief, she wrote.
"The symbolism of James Taylor’s Fire and Rain, an anthem of addiction, seems more poignant as now it is a purple rain, another loss to drug addiction," she lamented.
"I, like all of you, mourn the passing of a great artist but I also mourn the passing of potential artists past and present, caught in this deadly vise," she wrote, calling on government agencies, medical associations and the media to do more to address a "rampant epidemic of opiate addiction."
"Let’s work harder, look closer and do everything we can not to enable and in doing so, disable, our loved ones who are ill.
"This is what it sounds like when we all cry."
3:40 p.m. ET: Forget those reports that Percocet was found in Prince's body, says the medical examiner's office investigating the musician's still officially mysterious death.
"Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office has not released any information regarding Prince investigation to anyone, including law enforcement," tweeted the M.E. for Carver County, Minn, where Prince was found dead April 21 in his Paisley Park compound. "Results are pending. This is an ongoing investigation in partnership w/ Carver County Sheriff’s Office. We will have no further comment."
With its tweets Thursday, the medical examiner tried to debunk reports on Wednesday by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which quoted "a source familiar with the investigation" of Prince's death who said the painkiller Percocet was detected in Prince's body.
The tweets also aimed to discount any suspicion that the source of the Percocet report came out of the medical examiner's office or the Sheriff's Office.
The final ruling on the cause of Prince's death is pending toxicology testing and may be at least a week away. In the meantime, speculation about the role prescription painkillers could have played has been fueled by reports, also anonymously sourced, that investigators are exploring the painkiller overdose theory because prescription drugs were found in Prince's possession and in his home.
Also, the U.S. Attorney and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency announced Wednesday they have joined the investigation to "augment" the Carver County Sheriff's Office with "federal expertise and resources."
3:25 p.m. ET: Lawyers for Arsenio Hall on Thursday filed a $5 million libel lawsuit against Irish singer Sinéad O'Connor in response to her Facebook allegations that the comedian supplied drugs to Prince for decades.
The suit, filed by noted entertainment attorney Marty Singer and Lynda Goldman, labeled the Nothing Compares 2 U singer a "desperate attention seeker."
"The malicious statements made by O'Connor are absolutely false, and O'Connor's heinous accusations that Hall engaged in this criminal conduct are despicable, fabricated lies," the lawsuit says in its first paragraph.
The second paragraph says, "O'Connor is now known perhaps as much for her bizarre, unhinged Internet rants as for her music." And it gets worse over five more pages.
Hall is seeking $5 million in damages as well as unspecified punitive damages.
2:26 p.m. ET: William Mauzy, an attorney for California addiction specialist Dr. Howard Kornfeld, held a press conference Wednesday in Chicago to explain the doctor's plan to treat Prince for opioid addiction and his son's role. Because the Recovery Without Walls founder could not free up his own schedule to see Prince until April 22, he sent Andrew ahead in his stead on a redeye flight to Minneapolis. As it turned out, he was one of the people who discovered the singer's body in an elevator at Paisley Park and made the 911 call.
Andrew Kornfeld is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he studied neuroscience and psychology. According to the website for Recovery Without Walls, the pre-med student serves as a consultant, mentoring to patients and working as a spokesperson. Persuading at-risk patients to seek help is something "he has done for years," Mauzy told reporters.
"Andrew's purpose in being there was to describe the Recovery Without Walls program, to familiarize Prince with that," Mauzy said. Dr. Kornfeld's plan was for Andrew to get Prince "stabilized in Minnesota and convince him to come to Recovery Without Walls in Mill Valley.”
Mauzy added that Andrew was also carrying a starter dose of Suboxone (buprenorphine), which he planned to transfer to a local doctor who had an appointment to meet with Prince the morning of April 21. The pills, which are used to ease a patient's opioid withdrawals while still alleviating their pain, were never administered and were later taken by the Carver County Sheriff's Office.
"It is my belief that the [Minnesota law] providing immunity for people who make a 911 emergency call – to receive immunity for any medications, any controlled substances on the scene – will provide statutory immunity to Andrew," Mauzy speculated, referring to state Good Samaritan laws that protect individuals from being prosecuted for possession of controlled substances if they were seeking help for someone in an emergency. (The drugs in Kornfeld's possession were prescribed by his father, who has a valid Drug Enforcement Agency control number.)
10:52 a.m. ET: For the second consecutive week since his death on April 21, Prince rules Billboard's Artist 100 chart, which the music industry magazine uses to compose an overall look at an artist's activity across its "most influential" charts, including the Hot 100 singles chart, Social 50 and Hot 200 album list, with the album sales chart carrying the most weight. Though Beyoncé's Lemonade is No. 1, Prince albums occupy the second through sixth slots.
The Artist 100 rankings also take into consideration album and song sales, radio and streaming data and social media.
8:02 a.m. ET: Within hours of the Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. attorney's office joining the Carver County Sheriff's probe into Prince's death on Wednesday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the painkiller Percocet was detected in the singer's body when he died on April 21, citing a source familiar with the investigation.
However, until the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office releases its conclusive findings, we won't know what actually caused his death. Toxicology reports, the lengthiest part of the autopsy process, generally take between three weeks to one month to be released, which means Prince's results are probably not due for another week or two.
Wednesday also brought news that addiction specialist Andrew Kornfeld from the California-based Recovery Without Walls had been summoned to Paisley Park the day of Prince's death and that he was the one who placed the 911 call.
His father Howard, a doctor who founded the non-traditional, outpatient clinic, has had success in treating patients with pain using Suboxone (buprenorphine), a decades-old semi-synthetic drug considered less risky in terms of addiction and overdose than other painkillers linked to increasing addictions and deaths due to prescription drug abuse.
Contributing: The Associated Press