Steven Tyler on Prince’s Death and His Own Struggle with Addiction

By May Wilkerson 04/26/16

The Aerosmith frontman says he's holding onto hope that the iconic singer didn't die from "the same disease I have."

Steven Tyler Speaks About Prince’s Death and His Own Struggle with Addiction
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Prince’s death last week left millions of fans mourning around the world, including Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler. Though the cause of death is still unknown, there is some speculation that the iconic musician was struggling with an opiate addiction and may have died from an overdose. For Tyler, who is in recovery, these reports struck a particularly tragic chord. "I had no idea that he was taken to the hospital [reportedly] because he took too much of something," he told People. "You know I am very aware of taking too much of something. It got me in rehab many, many times."

There were rumors that Prince was addicted to opiates, and some reports claim that he was treated for an overdose just days before his death. If true, Tyler says he can relate: "As a recovering drug addict and alcoholic, I get that,” he said. “In the '80s I fell to my knees with my addictions."

The Aerosmith singer also condemned physicians and the pharmaceutical industry for “pushing” prescription drugs, which are responsible for a rising number of fatal overdoses across the country. "Doctors are the new pushers," said Tyler. "All of America isn't strung out on street drugs, they're strung out on prescribed drugs." 

Tyler, who once said he “snorted half of Peru” (aka cocaine), said he is grateful to be sober and urged others to get help before it’s too late. "If I can do it, anyone can," he said. "There are 12-step programs out there that save people's lives day after day, even if it's a minute at a time and someone's feeling like they want to use."

Until Prince’s cause of death is revealed, Tyler says he’s holding on to hope that the singer didn’t die from "the same disease I have." But if Prince did die from an overdose, he says there is somewhat of a silver lining. "Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, they all died so I could live," said Tyler of his idols, whose deaths served as a wakeup call for him to get help. "That's the only way to stop me from crying is to say, okay, maybe Prince died so others could live."

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.