Prince death investigation finds no evidence of foul play or suicide

There is no evidence of foul play or suicide during the early stage of the investigation into the death of iconic musician Prince, police said Friday.

Music icon's death came just weeks after he cancelled concerts due to ill health

An autopsy is scheduled for Friday to determine the cause of death for music icon Prince, seen here performing in 2007. (Kevin Winter/Getty)

There is no evidence of foul play or suicide during the early stage of the investigation into the death of iconic musician Prince, police said Friday.

"There were no obvious signs of trauma on the body at all," Sheriff Jim Olson said at a press conference in Carver County, Minn. "We have no reason to believe at this point that this was a suicide, but again, this is early on in this investigation."

An autopsy was completed Friday to determine what caused Prince's death, though officials said it could take days or even weeks before results are publicly released.

The music legend was found unresponsive Thursday morning in an elevator at Paisley Park, the suburban Minneapolis compound that served as his main residence. The local sheriff said deputies responded to a medical call at 9:43 a.m. that morning but that first-responders couldn't revive the 57-year-old musician. He was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m.

Police searched the residence and determined Prince was alone at the time of his death. He was last seen alive by an acquaintance who dropped him off the previous evening at around 8 p.m. 

'A community member and a good neighbour'

Olson spoke warmly of the musician, who made his home in the community. He would not respond to questions about whether Prince had been taking any medication leading up to his death, repeating that the investigation is still in the very early stages.

"To you, Prince was a celebrity. To us he was a community member and a good neighbour. To his family, he was a loved one." Olson said. "In life, Prince was a very private person and we're going to continue to respect his privacy and intregity."

Minnesota honours Prince

7 years ago
Duration 2:55
As an autopsy is planned for Prince, CBC's Cameron MacIntosh talks to fans outside his Paisley Park home studio about his significance and legacy.

Soundtrack of a generation

The Midwest Medical Examiner's Office was handling the autopsy, but the agency doesn't plan to release any preliminary information, agency spokeswoman Martha Weaver said Friday.

She paid tribute to the musician and his grieving fans.

"For our generation, he was the songbook and the narrative behind some of the greatest moments in our individual lives, much like Elvis Presley or Ira Gershwin. This is something we remember and take very, very seriously," Weaver said.

We appreciate the respect and dignity and the outpouring of support that everyone has shown, not only to his family but to the law enforcement officers working on this and to the great state of Minnesota that claimed him so proudly and adored him."

Prince dead at 57

7 years ago
Duration 4:45
Authorities responded to medical emergency call from singer's home recording studio

Prince had cancelled concerts in Atlanta because he wasn't feeling well. He performed a makeup concert April 14 in that city, apologizing to the crowd shortly after coming on stage for the earlier cancellation.

While talking to the crowd between songs, he joked about having been "under the weather," giving a slight smile. His voice seemed a bit weak at times when he spoke, but he sounded fine when singing during the 80-minute show, which featured Nothing Compares 2 U and his finale, Baby, I'm A Star.

He sat at his piano for most of the show, but stood up at times to pound the keys and walked around the piano a couple of times, soaking up cheers.

Prince had struggled with hip problems and childhood epilepsy. His former percussionist, Sheila E., told ABC's Good Morning America on Friday that Prince damaged his hips while performing, saying he jumped off risers while wearing high heels during his Purple Rain days and that "it damaged parts of his body." Prince was seen in recent years using a cane.

Prince revealed in a 2009 interview with Tavis Smiley that he was "born epileptic" and had seizures when he was young. It's unclear if his epilepsy carried into adulthood.

Prince, a Jehovah's Witness, had a reputation for clean living. In 2009, he told an interviewer with the Los Angeles Times that he didn't do drugs "or I'd give you a joint" to share while they listened to music.

'Wait a few days before saying your prayers'

After the Atlanta performance, Prince hosted a dance party on April 16 at his Paisley Park compound in Minnesota.

Jeremiah Freed, who runs the website drfunkenberry.com and who got to know Prince after writing about him over the years, said he last saw Prince at the dance party. Freed said he believed Prince held the party to show everyone he was fine.

Freed said Prince made a brief appearance but that he didn't have one-on-one time with the musician that night.

The artist showed off a new purple piano he had received as a gift, as well as a purple guitar, but seemed upset about the reports of an illness.

"When he had to talk about the stories going on, he didn't seem too pleased. It was kind of like, 'I'm here. I'm good,"' Freed said, adding that Prince told the crowd: "Just wait a few days before saying your prayers."

Lars Larson, a 37-year-old Minneapolis man who worked security for Prince and at Paisley Park events for about six years, said he attended the same party. Larson said the singer briefly appeared on stage and spoke to the crowd before standing by the sound board for 20 minutes then disappearing for the night.

"He seemed great. He looked like Prince," he said. "The whole point of the show on Saturday was to show he was doing all right."

With files from The Associated Press