Following a controversial spat with N.W.A over the rap group's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Gene Simmons is not holding back on his feelings about Prince, claiming his death was "a choice."
"Bowie was the most tragic of all because it was real sickness," the Kiss member told Newsweek. "[Prince's] drugs killed him. What do you think, he died from a cold?"
Prince's autopsy results were inconclusive and still awaiting a full toxicology report. The musician was reported to have painkillers on hand though it has not been confirmed by a medical examiner whether or not an overdose was what killed him. There were reports, however, that an addiction specialist had made the 911 call that led to the discovery of his body at Paisley Park. Prince was supposed to meet with the specialist the day he was found.
"I think Prince was heads, hands and feet about all the rest of them," Simmons continued. "I thought he left [Michael] Jackson in the dust. Prince was way beyond that. 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."
Paul Stanley apologized for his bandmate's comments via Twitter, stating that he is "embarrassed" by Simmons' "cold clueless statements" about Prince's death. "Without all the facts better to say nothing."
Simmons, who claims to have never been high or drunk in his life, recalled meeting Prince early in the late star's career, having taken his then-girlfriend Diana Ross to see him before he became popular. "Backstage when we came up to say 'You were great,' we were expecting this huge personality and he was a very small, slight human being. He might have been five-foot-four, very shy, with his eyes to the ground, very self-effacing. He just couldn't take a compliment: 'Thank, thank you.' He spoke in a whisper. It was shocking actually. He couldn't look Diana Ross in the face — he kept his eyes to the ground."
Simmons wrapped his thoughts on Prince with a reflection on what led to alleged addiction. "The one question I have is: When we all start out and we have these big dreams and you finally get your wish — you have more money than God and fame — what is that insane gene in us, well, a lot of us, that makes us want to succumb to the cliché of clichés: drugs and alcohol?"