April 24, 2018 / 3:08 AM / 5 months ago

Prince heirs sue Illinois hospital, Walgreens pharmacy chain over singer's death

(Reuters) - Heirs of Prince have sued an Illinois hospital and pharmacy chain Walgreens, saying they could have prevented the singer’s 2016 death if they had properly diagnosed and treated his overdose days earlier, a court document showed on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Prince performs during the halftime show of the NFL's Super Bowl XLI football game in Miami, Florida, U.S., February 4, 2007. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

The wrongful death lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago on Friday, accuses a doctor and pharmacist at Trinity Medical Center in Rock Island, Illinois, of failing to properly investigate the overdose or see that the pop star received appropriate counselling.

The six heirs also accuse two Walgreens pharmacists of improperly dispensing prescription medication to Prince, according to the lawsuit.

Representatives of the hospital could not be reached by Reuters for comment on Monday evening. A spokesman for the hospital’s parent company, UnityPoint Health, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that the company did not comment on pending litigation.

A spokesman for Walgreens, whose parent company is Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc, declined to comment to Reuters.

Prince, 57, was found dead at his Paisley Park home and recording studio complex near Minneapolis on April 21, 2016. The official cause of death was a self-administered overdose of the painkiller fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin.

A Minnesota prosecutor said last week he could not bring any criminal charges in connection with the “Purple Rain” singer’s death after a two-year investigation failed to determine where he obtained a counterfeit painkiller laced with fentanyl.

Police investigating Prince’s death found numerous opioids in the singer’s home, according to court documents released in April 2017.

The death of the music superstar, who crafted a public image of a clean and healthy vegan lifestyle, shocked the world and set off a protracted battle among his siblings and half-siblings over who would inherit his estate, estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Prince, known for his androgynous style and sexually charged songs, died a day before he was set to meet a California-based doctor who specializes in addiction treatment.

After his death, his longtime collaborator and protege Sheila E. told “Entertainment Tonight” that Prince had been suffering from hip and knee pain from decades of intense performing, much of it in his heels.

Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles and Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Michael Perry

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