By Pat Anson, Editor
Pop icon Prince suffered from chronic pain and was treated for an opioid overdose just days before his death, according to tabloid reports.
Prince’s body was found Thursday in an elevator at his compound in Minneapolis. A cause of death has not yet been determined.
According to TMZ, Prince was treated at a hospital in Moline, Illinois last Friday when his private jet made an unscheduled landing after a concert in Atlanta. Initial reports were that Prince was treated at the hospital for the flu, but TMZ reported he may have needed emergency treatment for an overdose.
“Multiple sources in Moline tell us, Prince was rushed to a hospital and doctors gave him a ‘save shot’ ... typically administered to counteract the effects of an opiate,” TMZ said.
A “save shot” most likely means an injection of naloxone, a life-saving drug that quickly reverses the effects of an opiate overdoses.
TMZ later updated the story to say that Prince was actually given the injection by paramedics at a local airport and then taken to the hospital.
“Our sources further say doctors advised Prince to stay in the hospital for 24 hours. His people demanded a private room, and when they were told that wasn't possible ... Prince and co. decided to bail. The singer was released 3 hours after arriving and flew home,” TMZ said.
An autopsy was performed on the body of 57-year old entertainer this morning, but preliminary findings and a toxicology analysis could take days or weeks.
"As part of a complete exam, relevant information regarding Mr. Nelson's medical and social history will be gathered," the coroner said in a statement, referring to Prince as Rogers Nelson, his birth name. TMZ said authorities were trying to obtain Prince’s hospital records in Moline.
"We have no reason to believe it was suicide," said Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson, who also refused to address reports that Prince had overdosed last week.
"I'm not able to confirm that at this time at all," Olson said. "There have been so many rumors out that I've read about. I don't know if I can dispel all the rumors that are out there."
Prince reportedly suffered from hip problems for over a decade and needed a double-hip replacement. But as a devout Jehovah’s Witness, he would not have a blood transfusion, which made surgery nearly impossible.
“Prince has suffered for years,” a source told The National Enquirer in January. “It’s harder for him to get around.”
The Enquirer said years of strutting and dancing onstage had taken a toll on Prince’s joints and he may have suffered from severe osteoarthritis.
“If he ignores the doctor’s advice, his walking will become impaired,” said Dr. Stuart Fischer, who did not treat Prince. “He’ll need a cane or a wheelchair for the rest of his life.”
Prince appeared hobbled and used a cane during the 2013 Grammy Awards, but in the past he has also used canes as a fashion accessory.
Prince was seen leaving a Walgreens pharmacy the night before his death. It was his fourth visit to the pharmacy this week. An employee there said he looked frail, according to TMZ.