He said 'I had to fight for my life': Singer recounts Prince's overdose on plane


Grammy-winning singer Judith Hill tells the New York Times that when she saw Prince lose consciousness on a flight home from Atlanta on April 15 “We knew it was only a matter of time; we had to get down. We didn’t have anything on the plane to help him.”

In an interview with the Times Hill provided details about the flight that made am emergency landing in Moline, Illinois, to get medical attention for the 57-year-old superstar.

Prince died less than a week later at Paisley Park, his home and studio in Chanhassen. A medical examiner ruled the 57-year-old accidentally overdosed on the painkiller fentanyl.

Hill was 'very freaked out'

Hill told the Times she was having dinner with Prince on the flight from Atlanta and the only other passenger on the chartered plane was Prince's longtime aide Kirk Johnson.

When she and Johnson could not rouse Prince after he passed out, Hill said, the pilot radioed air traffic controllers in Chicago to report there was an unresponsive man on the plane. An ambulance was on hand to meet the plane in Moline and while still on the tarmac Prince received a shot of Narcan, which is used to treat opioid overdoses.


In the interview, Hill said she was overwhelmed and panicked ("very freaked out," she said) adding that in the two years she'd spent with Prince she'd never seen him in distress before.

Publicly, the medical emergency was attributed to the flu but it was later acknowledged to be a painkiller overdose.

'The hardest thing he'd ever done'

Prince regained consciousness after the Narcan shot and was talking again by the time the ambulance reached a hospital in Moline, Hill told the newspaper.

She said Prince later told her:

“‘I had to fight for my life. I remember hearing your voices from afar and saying to myself, ‘Follow the voices, follow the voices, get back in your body, you gotta to do this.’ And he said it was the hardest thing he’d ever done, to get back into his body like that.”

After first downplaying the incident, Prince later agreed he needed help, Hill said. His friends had contacted an addiction specialist from California and Prince had seen a local doctor to have some tests done.

"...He wanted to do the right thing for his own body," Hill told the paper. “And that’s the part that breaks my heart, because he was trying. He was trying.”

Who's Judith Hill?

Hill, 32, spent years as a backup singer, including work with Michael Jackson and a Grammy for her work on the 2013 movie "20 Feet from Stardom."

Since 2014 she'd become a protege of Prince, who was helping her launch a solo career. She headlined a show at Paisley Park last fall and the Times reports Prince sang and played guitar, bass, and drums for Hill's new album "Back in Time."

She's now on a concert tour in support of the release.

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