KISS front man Gene Simmons is known for having opinions that raise eyebrows. Today, he stirred up fresh controversy with comments about Prince death. The rock star tells Newsweek that while David Bowie's death in January "tragic," Prince's sudden passing was "pathetic."
"Bowie was the most tragic of all because it was a real sickness," Simmons said. "All the other ones were a choice. [Prince] his drugs killed him. What do you think, he died from a cold?"
Prince's body was discovered in his Paisley Park compound on April 21st. Since then, rumors have come to light that the late rock icon may have suffered from an opioid addiction, which could have been the cause of his untimely death.
While Simmons seems to have no sympathy for Prince's reported personal struggles, he has nothing but praise for his music. "Heads, hands, and feet above all the rest of them," he said. "I thought he left [Michael] Jackson in the dust. Prince was way beyond that. But how pathetic that he killed him self. 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."
Simmons even recalled the first time he saw a young Prince perform, when he took Diana Ross to see him play.
“I took Diana Ross to see him when he was first starting out. He was playing a club and we’d never seen anything like that," he remembers. "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 you, 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.”
Despite Simmons obvious respect for Prince as a musician, and as a person, his statements regarding his death are downright insensitive — even offensive — to the family and friends of the late rock icon, and the millions of people who suffer from drug addiction.