Prince’s religious beliefs may have led to his death, as controversy surrounds his medical health.
Prince converted to the Jehovah’s Witness faith in 2001, a religion which refuses blood transfusions and other regular medical treatments.
The music great died on Thursday aged 57, after reportedly suffering an overdose that led him to be hospitalised last week. Blood transfusion is a common treatment for overdoses.
The singer converted to being a Jehovah’s Witness after discussions with his musician friend Larry Graham 15 years ago. It led to him turning his back on the sex-fixated lyrics familiar from hits such as Gett Off, Sexy MF, Cream and Kiss. He also reportedly opposed gay marriage.
The Jehovah’s Witness faith states that, other than blood transfusions, it generally allows other medical treatments “other than those which involve the occult”. However, the use of the term “occult” means some believers rule out medicine involving technology.
“I’m a Jehovah’s Witness and we’ve never voted”
A statement on the Jehovah’s Witness official website says: “Personal choice is involved. One Witness might decide to accept a particular medicine or treatment, but another might reject that same treatment.”
Prince had been to see his pharmacist four times in the days before his death at his Paisley Park home in Minnnesota. It has yet to be established exactly what medication Prince took, but some reports have said he had refused conventional treatment while he was in hospital last week.
As well as refusing medical treatment, Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t vote. Explaining why he didn’t vote for President Obama at the 2008 US Election, Prince said in 2009: “I’m a Jehovah’s Witness and we’ve never voted. That’s not to say I don’t think President Obama is a very smart individual and he seems like he means well. Prophecy is what we all have to go by now.”
Loaded’s deputy editor John Earls has covered entertainment and sport across a range of national newspapers, plus several football and music magazines, since 1990. Follow him on Twitter at @EarlsJohn