Cause of Prince's death may not be revealed for weeks amid overdose reports


The cause of Prince's death may not be made public for weeks, officials in the US have said, as it was reported that the pop superstar overdosed on a powerful painkiller six days before he died.

The American musician was pronounced dead at his Paisley Park estate near Minneapolis on Thursday, with tributes pouring in from the world of music and beyond.

A post-mortem examination was taking place on the 57-year-old's body on Friday, where information about his medical and social history was gathered, the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office said.

Prince is racking up music sales following news of his tragic death
Prince is racking up music sales following his tragic death (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Celebrity news website TMZ reported that Prince had overdosed on a painkiller called Percocet when his private jet made an emergency landing in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 15.

The Purple Rain star was taking the drug for a hip problem after having corrective surgery around six years ago, TMZ added.

A spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office said it would not release information from the post-mortem examination until "all results are obtained" and the findings of a toxicology scan "could likely take weeks".

Prince fans are mourning his death
Prince fans are mourning his death (PA)

Carver County Sheriff's office said a press conference would take place later to provide an update on the investigation into the death.

A day after Prince was rushed to hospital on April 15, he hosted a dance party at Paisley Park where fans said he "seemed happy" and appeared to look healthy.

Gretchen Richardson, 27, told the Press Association: "It was just a short appearance. He just said, 'Save your prayers for a couple of days. I'm OK. I'm here, thank you. I appreciate it'."

Prince was last seen on April 16 at a dance party (PA)

Jeremiah Freed, who also attended the event, said that Prince told the crowd: "Just wait a few days before saying your prayers."

Tributes have flooded in for the singer, whose full name was Prince Rogers Nelson. US president Barack Obama described Prince as a "creative icon".

Prince has died aged 57
Thousands of Prince fans also gathered at the club in Minneapolis where he filmed Purple Rain (Tim Whitby/PA)

Sales of Prince's music soared after news broke of his death, and fans continued to leave floral tributes at Paisley Park.

Thousands of Prince fans also gathered at the club in Minneapolis where he filmed Purple Rain as the venue hosted a free all-night dance party in his honour. Two more similar events are planned at the venue over the weekend.

President Obama revealed he played Prince's music at the US ambassador's home before meeting Prime Minister David Cameron in London on Friday.

Speaking at a press conference at the Foreign Office, Barack said: "I love Prince because he put out great music and he was a great performer.

President Barack Obama
Barack Obama paid tribute from London (Saul Loeb/AP)

"I didn't know him well. He came to perform at the White House last year and was extraordinary and creative and original and full of energy. It's a remarkable loss.

"I'm staying at Winfield House, the US ambassador's residence. It so happens our ambassador has a turntable so this morning we played Purple Rain and Delirious before we left the house for important bilateral meetings like this."