LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02:  Musician Prince accepts the award for "Outstanding Male Artist" onstage during the 38th annual NAACP Image Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on March 2, 2007 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
Report: Fentanyl killed Prince
01:27 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Prince, 57, died in his Minnesota home in April

It's unclear how he got the opioids

Federal officials are seeking answers on where the fentanyl came from

CNN  — 

A medical examination has concluded that Prince died of an accidental overdose of pain medication, ending weeks of speculation on how the singer died.

But it also raises a new question: How did he get his hands on the drug?

The medicine, fentanyl, is an opioid and is one of the strongest painkillers available. It’s prescribed for cancer treatment, but it’s also being made illicitly and sold on the streets, delivering a super high and, far too often, death.

Prince, who had a reputation for clean living, had long suffered from bad hip – and some who knew him said he had been addicted to pain meds for some time.

The entertainer was found with opioid medication at the time of his death, according to a law enforcement source. And the day before he died, his team called an eminent opioid addiction specialist in California seeking urgent help for the singer, the doctor’s lawyer had said earlier.

The man who found Prince

If the fentanyl was prescribed by a doctor, who got it for Prince?

If it turns out he obtained it illegally, then the singer’s death investigation will turn into a criminal one.

Little details in the report

The Midwest Medical Examiner’s office conducted the autopsy and released a copy of its findings Thursday. And although the report reveals some things, it doesn’t provide much detail.

Under “how injury occurred,” the report said “the decedent self-administered fentanyl.” For manner of death, a box was marked for “accident.”

In other words: Prince’s accidentally overdosed after giving himself fentanyl.

The 57-year-old musician was found unresponsive in an elevator at his home and recording studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota, on April 21.

The report said Prince, who was 5 feet 3 inches, weighed 112 pounds. He was dressed in black that morning, including a black cap.

Opioids and overdoses: 4 things to know

Spotlight on a potent drug

The report once again shines a spotlight on fentanyl, a drug that medical experts call the new heroin, but deadlier.

It’s been around since the 1960s. And its potency works miracles, soothing extreme pain.

The drug is 25 to 50 times more potent than heroin and 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

An illicit version of the drug is flooding into communities nationwide, with the Drug Enforcement Administration describing it as a health crisis.

Federal prosecutors and the Drug Enforcement Administration are investigating how Prince obtained prescription medications and from whom, the agencies said.

Another heartbreaking turn

The report also marks another heartbreaking turn for Prince fans who haven’t stopped mourning since his death.

Some spoke of their dismay, while other expressed frustration that more information about the singer’s death had not yet been released.

“I can’t help but think there is more to it,” one person wrote in the online fan community, Prince.org. “I just wish instead of letting the results trickle out they would just release it all at once. It’s heartbreaking as it is!”

A fan tweeted Thursday “#Prince passed on of #ChronicPain essentially. Anyone that has been in chronic debilitating agony knows what that feels like.”

CNN’s Ralph Ellis and Lisa France contributed to this report