Singer Saw Prince Lose Consciousness: 'His Eyes Fixed'

Judith Hill worked with pop star for years, tells 'NYT' she never knew he was in pain
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2016 9:14 AM CDT
In this Sept. 19, 2014, file photo, singer Judith Hill arrives at Operation Smile's 2014 Smile Gala in Beverly Hills, Calif. Hill opened for Prince during his pop-up tour nationwide.   (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – The world has been haunted since the untimely death of Prince Rogers Nelson in April, but none more so than Judith Hill, who was with the pop star when his flight made an emergency landing six days before he died. Hill was sitting across from Prince on the plane flying from Atlanta to Paisley Park when he fell unconscious—a moment Hill says could have been fatal if she hadn't been watching and realized he hadn't just fallen asleep. "His eyes fixed," the 32-year-old Prince protege tells the New York Times. "Thankfully, I happened to be looking into his face." She alerted Prince's aide, Kirk Johnson, the only other passenger on the plane, and they then notified the pilot when they couldn't get Prince to come to. The plane was brought down and a shot of Narcan was administered.

Hill, a Grammy-winning singer who appeared on The Voice and who started working with Prince after he saw a 2013 interview with her in which she named him her "dream collaborator," says she had had no clue about the constant pain he was in. He "never said anything, that this is hurting, never a sign of struggle. That's why it's all very shocking." And it was apparently at her urging after the airplane incident that Prince sought help for his drug addiction, starting with getting some tests done by a local doctor—a step that came too late. The doctor was ready to share test results on the day of Prince's death. "He wanted to do the right thing for his own body," Hill says. "And that's the part that breaks my heart, because he was trying. He was trying." Read more of Hill's revelations about Prince here. (Read more Prince stories.)

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