Gene Simmons has apologized for saying that Prince’s death was “a choice” due to his alleged addiction to painkillers. In a note on Twitter, the outspoken Kiss member wrote, “I just got such shit from my family for my big mouth again. I apologize — I have a long history of getting very angry at what drugs do to the families/friends of the addicts. I get angry at drug users because of my experience being around them coming up in the rock scene.”
Simmons made his initial comments during an interview with Newsweek. While he praised Prince as “heads, hands and feet above the rest of them,” he added, “But how pathetic that he killed himself. Don’t kid yourself, that’s what he did. Slowly, I’ll grant you… But that’s what drugs and alcohol is: A slow death.”
In his apology, Simmons explained that the culture he grew up in cast off addicts as “losers” and he admitted it was difficult for him to “change with the times.
“Needless to say,” he continued, “I didn’t express myself properly here — I don’t shy away from controversy, and angry critics really don’t bother me at all. If I think I’m right, I’ll throw up a finger and dig my heels in and laugh. But this time, I was not. So, my apologies.”
Simmons then added a quick postscript in which he cast some blame on media outlets for “quote-mining things I’ve said in the past and applying it to new situations.” While he admitted this didn’t make his previous statements “any more tactful,” he closed with the warning: “Be wary of click bait. The uglier they can make it seem, the more views they will get.”
As for Prince, results from the late musician’s toxicology tests are still pending, but the investigation into his death has focused on his supposed addiction to painkillers, stemming from chronic hip pain. Prince was in possession of painkillers at the time of his death, and according to a search warrant, the musician was treated by a doctor and prescribed unspecified medications twice in April, including the day before he died.