Pop star Prince died of opioid painkiller overdose | News | DW | 02.06.2016
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Pop star Prince died of opioid painkiller overdose

A medical examiner said the pop icon Prince died of an accidental painkiller overdose. Traces of the opioid fentanyl, considerably more potent than morphine, was found in his body.

The 57-year-old star's death was ruled an "accident," caused by an overdose of fetanyl, a powerful opioid used to treat pain, the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office said in a statement on Thursday.

The examiner's office said the five-foot-two (1.6-meter) musician weighed just 112 pounds (51 kilograms) and listed the resting spot of his ashes as unknown.

A synthetic opiate, fentanyl is more powerful than morphine and is a prescription drug used to treat chronic pain.

The medical examiner's statement was released after sources told Minneapolis' "Star Tribune" newspaper that the star died of opioid overdose.

The paper reported that Prince had been treated the day before his death for opioid withdrawal symptoms. He was planning to meet a California doctor, Howard Kornfeld, for opioid addiction the next day.

Kornfed's son Andrew had arrived at Prince's home, Paisley Park estate, on April 21 to make plans for the treatment when he discovered the artist's lifeless body and called emergency services.

News of the painkiller overdose follows earlier reports that traces of the painkiller Percocet had been found in the superstar's body. Prescription opioid tablets were also found at the scene of his death, according to a source cited by the newspaper.

Prince, whose full name was Prince Rogers Nelson, did not leave a will for his multimillion-dollar estate, including royalties from over 30 albums. "Purple Rain" and "When Doves Cry" are two of his most popular songs.

mg/sms (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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