Protégé Judith Hill Reveals Details About Prince’s Emergency Illinois Landing

Judith Hill (via The Current)

Just six days before Prince died from an accidental opioid overdose, the musician’s protégé Judith Hill was aboard that infamous April 15 flight from Orlando, which ended in an emergency Illinois landing. She’s now detailed the fateful experience in an exclusive New York Times interview, recalling some of her final, painful memories with the late “Purple Rain” icon.

Sitting together on the plane, the two were sharing dinner before Prince suddenly fell unconscious. “His eyes fixed,” she told the NYT, before passing out completely. “I thought he was gone,” she admitted, revealing they didn’t have anything on the plane to help him back to consciousness. By the time they’d landed, however, Prince had woken up and received a shot of Narcan in an emergency ambulance. He was “very cooperative that whole night,” Hill said.

While under medical treatment in Moline, Illinois, Hill said it was the first time she’d ever seen Prince look vulnerable. He was reflecting on his unconscious experience in the hospital bed, saying he had to “fight for his life” in order to “get back into his body.” He remembered hearing distance demands urging him to “follow the voices,” calling the entire situation “the hardest thing he’d ever done.”

Hill, who was slated to be a back-up vocalist on Michael Jackson’s This is It tour and appeared on the 2013 season of The Voice, was Prince’s longtime friend and frequent collaborator. “There was a very intense relationship,” she told the NYT about her connection with Prince. “He told me that he loved me and that he would always be there for me.”

Read the full New York Times article, here.