The Queen of Funk - whose biggest hit 'I Feel For You' was written by the late pop legend - has revealed that finding out the 'Purple Rain' singer had died from an opioid overdose in April 2016 at the age of 57 came as a complete shock to her, because other than some occasional drug experimentation he lived a pretty clean life, only even drinking alcohol on rare occasions.
Speaking to The Guardian newspaper, she said: ''I never, ever got any indication that he was on pills. I knew he was doing certain things, I knew he had a couple of bouts with acid and all that. That's OK. A one-off here and there, you got the money, you ain't working. You like acid - go do it. But he was totally against drinking; he'd drink red wine occasionally, not a lot. He starved himself - he wouldn't eat unless it was this or that; he was very particular. What comes to mind is someone who was very health conscious as opposed to... Secrets kill. Secrets kill, and if he hid from me for so many years where he was really at, and I was like his confidante in many ways, you know, it's hard to keep a secret like that from me. So I learned a lot, you know. I just said, 'I better go check myself.' And I'm alive maybe because he's dead. I went to a doctor and I said, 'Here's the deal', and he told me there are certain pains you've just got to live with, that's part of life.''
The 'Ain't Nobody' songstress struggled with her own addictions to cocaine, heroin and alcohol but she believes something that helped her overcome the potential damage of those substances was that she would live a very healthy lifestyle when she got clean.
She added: ''All through the 80s, I knew when to abstain, I really did. I had lines of demarcation in my life, and I practised them. And, also, I was very aware of my health; that was important to me. When I was with the [Black] Panthers, my girlfriends and I were all into breaking our own bread, taking our herbs, fasting one week out of every month.
''So there were certain other habits I got that I never did stop. It was the healthy living that brought me through drugs alive, I'm sure of it. I would get massively f**ed-up for a couple of weeks and then I'd take, like, a herbal shut-down where I'd stop and just go on plants. So that helped me a lot.''
'No Turning Back' was released on this day (January 3rd) in 2003.
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