NEW YORK — Singer and Prince protege Judith Hill says she was on a plane with Prince when it made an emergency landing in Illinois after the superstar lost consciousness less than a week before his death.
Hill told The New York Times for a story posted online Tuesday that she was “very freaked out” when Prince lost consciousness in the middle of a conversation. She said his eyes fixed before he nodded off.
“Thankfully, I happened to be looking into his face,” she said, adding that she might have thought he had simply fallen asleep if she hadn’t been looking at him.
Hill told the newspaper that she shook Prince and called his name while the plane descended to Moline, Illinois.
“We knew it was only a matter of time; we had to get down,” Hill said. “We didn’t have anything on the plane to help him.”
The New York Times article says Prince was given a shot of Narcan, which is typically used to treat opioid overdoses, while on the tarmac. Then the ambulance took him to Trinity Moline Hospital.
Hill said he was awake and talking by the time they arrived at a hospital. She said it was the first time she’d ever seen him in distress.
Prince “was quick on his feet,” she said. “Never said anything, that this is hurting, never a sign of struggle. That’s why it’s all very shocking.”
She said Prince was like his old self in the hospital room after the incident.
“He wasn’t dreary or drowsy, or anything,” she said.
Prince died of an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl six days later. Hill said she woke up to texts from friends that day.
“That was definitely the worst day of my life,” she said.
Hill has declined interview requests from The Associated Press.