NPR

Prince's Posthumous Year In Business Was Full Of Weirdos And Chaos

Prince Rogers Nelson was notoriously mercurial — which left his estate in chaos after he passed away unexpectedly one year ago today.
The entrance of the Paisley Park compound. Source: Mark Ralston

The problem was that Prince, a control freak, didn't leave a will. He didn't even have a cause of death — initial reports suggested an overdose of fentanyl, and recently unsealed affidavits and search warrants revealed painkillers were scattered throughout his Paisley Park home and studio. Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg, who was treating Prince for hip pain, reportedly prescribed oxycodone intended for the artist to a close friend in the weeks prior to his death. After Prince died a year ago today, found in a Paisley Park elevator, his estate — including songs, videos, $25 million in real estate and 67 gold bars, among many other things — was said to be worth between $200 and $300 million.

Because Prince had no children, was divorced and his closest relatives were his sister, Tyka Nelson, and five half-siblings, the estate was in shambles from the outset.

"The minute I looked at it, there was nothing appropriately in place," Charles Koppelman, a longtime record executive who spent much of 2016 as a music-business advisor to

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR5 min readPolitics
'The Accident Of Color' Looks At The Failure Of Reconstruction
Daniel Brook has written a book that goes a long way toward injecting thoughtfulness into popular notions of the history of race and racism in America but doesn't delve far enough into class conflict.
NPR2 min readSociety
4 Wounded In Shooting At Toronto Raptors Victory Celebration
The shots set off a panicked stampede at a gathering to honor the NBA champs. None of the injuries was life threatening and police quickly apprehended three suspects.
NPR2 min readPolitics
Trump Threatens To Deport 'Millions,' As He Kicks Off Campaign For Reelection
The administration is seeking to ramp up deportation, focusing on those who have skipped court hearings.