Almost one year to the day of his demise, the late superstar Prince Rogers Nelson remains as enigmatic in death as he often was in life.
This has compounded the shock and sorrow of his departure for his fans, still wondering why he died of an opioid overdose and why his multimillion-dollar estate is still such a mess.
“Contradictions and seeming inconsistencies are part and parcel of (Prince’s) whole story — nothing is simple or self-evident,” says Alex Hahn, a Boston lawyer, Prince fan and co-author of The Rise of Prince:1958-1988. “With someone like Elvis Presley or Kurt Cobain or Amy Winehouse, there is an unambiguous picture of physical or psychological deterioration as part of substance abuse. Prince died of an overdose but he doesn’t have these other (signs) in common with them.”
“There’s a lot of mystery, a lot of information behind the curtain,” says Frank Wheaton, a lawyer who, up until last month, represented one of Prince’s siblings and presumed heirs, one of an army of lawyers involved in the case.
The curtain is likely to remain closed for the time being.
Meanwhile, fans who want to commune with the spirit of Prince can tour Paisley Park, his home/studio complex in suburban Minneapolis, which has been turned into a museum. Prince’s ashes are in a custom-designed glass-and-ceramic Paisley Park-shaped urn on display in the atrium.
Paisley Park is planning four days of events and performances, starting Thursday , to mark the one-year anniversary.
At least five recent books have been published examining Prince’s life and legacy, including a memoir by his first ex-wife, Mayte Garcia. Prince tributes continue to crop up, the most recent at the Grammys, where Bruno Mars did the honors.
But there are many questions left unanswered:
What killed him? He died April 21, 2016, in an elevator in Paisley Park in Carver County, Minn. The one-page autopsy report released later said he died of an accidental overdose of the opioid fentanyl.
Famously clean-living Prince died of a painkiller OD at age 57? Unthinkable. Numerous friends, associates, relatives and former wives and girlfriends insisted they never saw him take drugs.
Was there some medical condition that contributed to his death? We may never know because, under Minnesota law, the full autopsy report can be kept secret for up to 30 years unless the next of kin agree to release it. So far, that’s not happened.
Why was he taking fentanyl and for how long? Where did he get it? Was it prescribed by a doctor or acquired by illicit means? Did he know some of the pills containing fentanyl were falsely labeled something else? What was the relationship between his death and the episode of six days earlier when he suffered a medical emergency on a…