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Prince arranged to meet addiction doctor

Associated Press Associated Press 5/05/2016

In his final weeks, Prince hid signs of trouble from his fans, stonewalling reports of an overdose that required an emergency plane landing and making a brief public appearance to reassure them.

But privately, the superstar was in crisis, seeking help from a prominent addiction expert that ultimately came too late.

The day before he died, Prince's representatives reached out to a prominent California doctor who specialises in treating addiction and set up an initial meeting between the two, the doctor's Minneapolis lawyer William Mauzy said on Wednesday.

He said Dr Howard Kornfeld couldn't leave right away so he sent his son, Andrew, who flew out that night.

It was Andrew Kornfeld who called 911 the next morning after he and two staffers found Prince unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park studio complex, the lawyer said.

Prince was declared dead shortly thereafter on April 21. He was 57.

The details about Prince's death that emerged on Wednesday raise questions about whether he received appropriate care and whether those who sought to provide it could face legal consequences for their actions.

Although autopsy results haven't been released, Mauzy's revelations, which were first reported by the Star Tribune, buttress reports that Prince had been fighting - and ultimately lost - a battle with prescription painkillers.

Mauzy confirmed that Andrew Kornfeld flew to Minnesota on behalf of his father in the hopes of connecting Prince with a local physician the morning he was found dead.

He said Dr Kornfeld hoped to get Prince "stabilised in Minnesota and convince him to come to Recovery Without Walls in Mill Valley. That was the plan," referring to Howard Kornfeld's California treatment centre.

Mauzy said Andrew Kornfeld was "taken into custody and interviewed and told it was a criminal investigation".

He said Kornfeld was released the same day and returned to San Francisco.

Andrew Kornfeld is listed on his father's centre's website as a consultant, and Mauzy said it wasn't uncommon for Howard Kornfeld to send Andrew on his behalf. He said Andrew Kornfeld is a pre-med student and that convincing people to seek treatment at the centre is something "he has done for years".

Also on Wednesday, the US Attorney's Office said it and the Drug Enforcement Administration are joining local officials in investigating Prince's death.

A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation has told the AP that investigators are looking into whether Prince died from an overdose.

Mauzy said Prince's representatives told Howard Kornfeld that the singer was "dealing with a grave medical emergency". He declined on Wednesday to detail the emergency, and also declined to identify the Minnesota doctor who was supposed to see Prince on April 21.

Prince had a reputation for clean living, and some friends said they never saw any sign of drug use.

But longtime friend and collaborator Sheila E. has told the AP that Prince had physical issues from performing, citing hip and knee problems that she said came from years of jumping off risers and stage speakers in heels.

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