In his shocking new memoir, The Beautiful Ones, the “Purple Rain” singer’s co-writer, Dan Piepenbring, recalled the somber phone call he received from Prince on February 15, 2016 – the same day the news broke that his ex-girlfriend Vanity, whose real name was Denise Matthews, had died.
Piepenbring said he answered Prince’s call, where the legend informed him, “I’ve been better. I just got some sad news.”
But Prince wouldn’t reveal the cause of his sadness until hours later during his first solo tour in Melbourne, Australia. Piepenbring said Prince informed the audience that “someone dear to us had passed away.”
The writer, who was behind the scenes of the singer’s tour at the time, said Prince appeared “shook” by his ex’s passing.
“In the early eighties, the two had fallen in love, and Prince had tapped her to front the group Vanity 6. She was slated to appear in Purple Rain when their relationship fell apart,” Piepenbring wrote.
Reports at the time revealed Vanity suffered from kidney failure and abdominal illness.
Piepenbring pointed out that Vanity was the same age as Prince – 57 years old – at the time of her death. As RadarOnline.com readers know, just months later, Prince would be found dead in the elevator of his home on April 21, 2016.
Prince’s co-writer also revealed how Prince remained mum about his own health struggles in his final days. As RadarOnline.com readers recall, Prince was on a private jet on April 15, 2016 when his plane made an emergency landing. At first, the singer claimed the landing was due to his suffering from the flu.
But his death on April 21 raised eyebrows as to whether or not that was truly the case. Piepenbring said just four days prior to his death, Prince called him to provide an update on the book – and his health.
“Really, I just wanted to call and let you know that that’s what I’ve been thinking about, and I’m okay,” Piepenbring claimed Prince told him over the phone.
Piepenbring said he believed Prince instead of the reports swirling about his declining health and pill addiction.
“Looking back, I’m embarrassed by how credulous I was, by how fuzzy my reasoning had become. But Prince had told me that he was okay, and I took him at his word,” he said.
His official cause of death was ruled an accidental “self-administered” overdose of fentanyl, according to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office.
In addition to Piepenbring’s chapter where he delves into Prince’s final months, the memoir also includes pages written by Prince himself.
In his chapter, Prince detailed his sad childhood of growing up with parents who fought verbally and physically in his Minnesota home. He also revealed the cause of his seizures and “blackouts” when he was a young boy.
The Beautiful Ones will be released on October 29.