Prince protege Judith Hill was on the private plane with the superstar when he lost consciousness and the plane made an emergency landing, just days prior to his death. Hill recalled the incident to the New York Times, speaking for the first time about what happened on the April 15 flight from Atlanta, after Prince’s two shows there.
Hill said she was “freaked out” when he blacked out during a conversation. She explained that “his eyes fixed” just before he became unconscious.
“Thankfully, I happened to be looking into his face,” she told the Times, realizing that he was unconscious and not asleep. She and the singer’s friend Kirk Johnson tried to wake him, unsuccessfully. They then notified the pilot, who prepared to land in Illinois.
“We knew it was only a matter of time; we had to get him down,” Hill was quoted as saying. “We didn’t have anything on the plane to help him.”
The Times reports that the plane landed at t 1:17 a.m. in Moline, Ill., where an ambulance met them and paramedics carried Prince into an emergency vehicle, and he was revived on the tarmac with a shot of Narcan, which is typically used to treat opioid overdoses.
The ambulance then took him to nearby Trinity Moline Hospital.
Hill had been a close associate of Prince in the final months of his life, performing with the singer at Paisley Park and traveling for shows. She also worked with Michael Jackson during preperations for his “This Is It” tour and performed at his televised 2009 memorial service. But she says that her relationship with Prince was much more personal than her history with Jackson.
“I was with Prince the last two years of my life,” she said.
“There was a very intense relationship. I deeply cared for him,” Hill said when asked if she and Prince were romantically involved. “He told me that he loved me and that he would always be there for me.”