A longtime critic of stars who abuse alcohol and drugs, the rocker has little sympathy for the Purple Rain icon, who reportedly battled a painkiller dependency in the weeks and months before his death last month (Apr16).
Simmons, who insists he has never been high or drunk, was asked to give a tribute during a recent chat with Newsweek, but he quickly made it clear that although he was a fan of the great man's music, he had no respect for the way he died, with prescription drugs on his person.
"(Prince's) drugs killed him," the outspoken star told the publication. "What do you think? He died from a cold?
"I think Prince was heads, hands and feet above all the rest of them. I thought he left (Michael) Jackson in the dust. Prince was way beyond that. But how pathetic that he killed himself.
"Don’t kid yourself, that's what he did. Slowly, I'll grant you... but that's what drugs and alcohol is: a slow death."
Simmons recalled meeting Prince early in his career, adding, "He was playing a club and we'd never seen anything like that. Backstage when we came up to say 'you were great', we were expecting this huge personality and he was a very small, slight human being. He might have been five-foot-four, very shy, with his eyes to the ground, very self-effacing. He just couldn’t take a compliment.
"He spoke in a whisper. It was shocking actually. He couldn't look (my girlfriend) Diana Ross in the face; he kept his eyes to the ground."
The music icon's body was found slumped in an elevator in his Paisley Park complex near Minneapolis, Minnesota on 21 April (16). Autopsy results into his cause of death have yet to be released, but multiple reports suggest Prince was struggling with painkillers he was taking for a hip injury.
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