As news reports swirled Thursday about the death of pop icon Prince, fans and media personalities alike took to social media to question the cause, which hasn’t been confirmed.
Not much is known about Prince’s underlying health conditions, but in April 2009 the 57-year-old, born Prince Rogers Nelson, talked to People magazine about his struggle with epilepsy as a child. More recently, reports suggested Prince had been suffering from influenza for several weeks and was hospitalized in Illinois for the respiratory condition last week.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this year’s flu season has been milder than previous years’, but the flu vaccine is also thought to be more effective. It’s unclear whether Prince received this year’s flu vaccine.
Young people and the elderly, as well as individuals who are immunosuppressed, are likelier to experience severe effects from the flu, including death, according to the CDC. Antiviral drugs or prescription drugs can be used to treat the flu, and failure to do so in severe cases can lead to complications such as pneumonia, which also can be life-threatening.
According to the CDC, antivirals are most effective when begun within 48 hours of getting sick. For the best chance at recovering from the flu, the CDC recommends lots of rest and drinking sufficient fluids.
TMZ reported Friday that Prince had to cancel two shows on April 7 due to the illness, but he wanted to do a show the night of April 14, despite still not feeling well. He got on a plane afterward and his symptoms worsened, after which the plane made an emergency landing in Moline, Ill., and was rushed to the hospital. Three hours later, he was released.
On April 21, the singer was found dead at Paisley Park Complex in Chanhassen, Minn., and the Carver County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on Twitter that it was investigating the death at the complex.