Music icon Prince was “preparing to die for a little while” after being diagnosed with AIDS, according to reports in the US.
A music industry source interviewed by The National Enquirer messaged friends on April 19 to say the singer was suffering from the disease.
“He was in bad shape,” the source claimed to the newspaper, as reported by Radar Online.
“Doctors told Prince his blood count was unusually low and that his body temperature had dropped dangerously below the normal 98.6 degrees to 94 degrees.
“He was totally iron-deficient, very weak and often disoriented.
“He rarely ate and when he did, it all came right back up.”
The magazine claims the Purple Rain star was diagnosed with AIDS six months ago after contracting the HIV positive virus “in the 1990s”.
However due to his Jehovah’s Witness faith he refused medical treatment instead believing he could be cured by pray.
“God can and will cure me,” he is alleged to have told friends.
Members of his faith are also claimed to have told him to ignore saying to the singer he had “everlasting life”.
According to the Enquirer the disease saw him lose more than five stone in weight with the source telling them: “His face was yellowish, the skin on his neck was hanging off and the tips of fingers were a brownish-yellow.”
Prince’s death last Thursday came five days after his private jet was forced to make an emergency landing after he is suspected to have overdosed on the painkiller Percocet.
Days before he was dead in a lift at his Paisley Park home in Chanhassen, Minneapolis, he had been seen making runs to a local pharmacy to pick up bags of prescriptions.
An employee at the Walgreens that served Prince him said: “We were all just shocked that he came in last night looking so beat. We said, ‘We are praying for you.’”
A day after his death Prince, 57, was cremated in a private ceremony attended by only three family members including his sister Tyka Nelson, 55.
The claims of Prince suffering from AIDS came as the Mirror learnt he was forced to return to touring in order to boost his finances after it was discovered his spending outstripped his income.
Despite his work being valued at more than £150 million he is said to have suffered “chronic money problems” for years before his death.
The star’s refusal to allow the rights to music and back catalogue to be sold placed an immense strain on his finances, sources close the singer have claimed.
Before his death the singer “consistently shut down” opportunities to fuel his finances, such as licensing his songs to be used in movies, TV shows and commercials.
A source said: “He refused to part with his art.
“He always remained true to his beliefs that his work was his own and despite lucrative offers his music was not for sale.
“To get much needed cash Prince braved the pain barrier to tour Australia earlier this year.
“You can imagine the toll a 36 hour flight would take on his body.
“Although a genius of music, he was not a genius when it came to business.”
Sources close to the star point to how his frequent impulsive shows were poorly planned and involved little promotion, meaning that while some were successful, a lot were staged at a loss.
It had been reported that Prince’s estate was worth in the region of £200 but the figure is said to have been grossly exaggerated.
The rights to his music however have been estimated to be worth upwards of £150 million in the future.
Days before Prince’s death, two American websites posted a story about “a VERY popular African American celebrity” suffering from AIDS who they refused to name.
On April 18 Blind Gossip posted: “We just received word that a VERY popular African American celebrity – who has recently been in the news – now has what is being described as AIDS.
“Obviously since we are not able to 100% confirm the story – we’re going to leave it as a Blind Item. We want to make it clear we are NOT talking about Magic Johnson.
“This report really hurt our heart.
“According to a person extremely close to the situation, the celebrity, who is known for having a very extreme sexual past reportedly contracted the illness sometime in the 1990s.
“He kept the illness quiet but began taking his medication religiously up until about 2 years ago.”
They finished the article saying: “We’re told that the celebrity is expected to get sicker and sicker, and eventually pass. It can happen as soon as the summer.
“Very sad news.”