Judith Hill Recounts Prince’s Hospitalization

In a recent interview with the New York Times, singer Judith Hill recounted the night she first realized that something was wrong with her mentor, Prince. The two were flying to Minneapolis when Prince suddenly lost consciousness and the plane was forced to make an emergency landing near Chicago.

Hill reported that she had been talking with Prince when he suddenly lost consciousness. She said, “Thankfully, I happened to be looking at his face,” as had she looked away for only a moment and not seen him pass out, she would have assumed he was dozing. However, she did watch as “his eyes fixed” and immediately knew something was wrong.

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Hill ran to get Prince’s friend, Kirk Johnson, the plane’s only other passenger. Johnson and Hill were unable to rouse Prince and alerted the pilot, who called air traffic controllers in Chicago. At 1:12 am, the pilot asked assistance for an unresponsive man on board.  Hill said, “We knew it was only a matter of time; we had to get down. We didn’t have anything on board to help him.”

Five minutes after calling for assistance, the plane landed in Moline, Illinois, where Prince was promptly revived by medication for an opioid overdose and driven to a nearby hospital. Hill stated that Prince was alert and speaking when they reached the hospital, which relieved her as she “thought he was gone.”

At the time, she had no idea what caused Prince’s condition. Prince was known as a very private man, and even those he was close to, such as Judith Hill, had no real understanding of how bad his chronic pain condition was. While he was known for living a vegan lifestyle and refusing to work with those who partook in recreational drugs, Prince had become addicted to prescription painkillers.

Hill had some inkling of what was going on in her mentor’s life after the incident on April 15th, as she reportedly reached out to his other friends to urge him to get help for his addiction. She stated that he had been searching treatment before his death: “And that’s the part that breaks my heart, because he was trying. He was trying.”

For her part, Judith Hill will continue to remember Prince fondly, mourning the man she leaned on for support. She said, “He was such a warrior, and it’s inspiring me to be that person.”

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