Prince fought throat and stomach pains, says chef


Prince was struggling with sore throats and stomach problems prior to his death last month, his personal chef has said.

The pop star was found dead in a lift at his Paisley Park estate on April 21 and so far no cause of death has been released.

A law enforcement official has said that investigators are looking into whether the star died from an overdose and whether a doctor was prescribing him drugs in the weeks beforehand.

But Ray Roberts, who cooked for Prince nearly every day for almost three years, said in an interview that wasn't the man he saw nearly every night, "not even a hint, not at all".

Prince on stage
Prince (PA/Yui Mok)

He did say he had noticed changes in Prince's diet -- he was eating less and drinking less water, and looked like he was losing weight.

He began wanting meals that were easier to digest and was fighting off waves of sore throats and frequent upset stomachs, the cook said.

"It felt like he wasn't himself probably the last month or two," Ray said. "I think he was just struggling with being sick a lot."

Prince, who didn't eat meat, normally loved foods like roasted beets and minestrone soup with a harissa chermoula, a herb sauce from North Africa.

In recent months, Ray said, as Prince would have sore throats or seem like he wasn't feeling well for "weeks at a time" he would prefer smoothies and fresh juices to soothe his throat or stomach.

Prince on stage
Prince (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Ray and his wife began cooking for Prince in 2013 after an informal tryout with several other chefs, and he made all his meals for the musician in the restaurant-grade kitchen at Paisley Park.

The chef said cooking for the Purple Rain singer was a dream job and he relished the opportunity to listen to the star jam with other famous musicians.

He said Prince had a "higher purpose" and that while he could be a joker, most of the time he was a "caring, thoughtful person" who apologised if he was running late and considered his employees family.

"I wish he was still here," he said. "That's what it boils down to."

Ray said he last saw Prince the evening before the musician was found dead. He cooked Prince a roasted red pepper bisque with a kale and spring vegetable salad. But Prince never ate it. When he returned to the musician's studio home for his memorial service days later, Ray found it in the fridge -- just as he'd left it.