By Robyn Collins
Grammy winner and contestant on The Voice, Judith Hill was on the flight to Paisley Park with Prince on April 15 when the superstar passed out and the plane made an emergency landing. Hill said she thought “he was gone,” and added she was “very freaked out,” reported the The New York Times.
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An ambulance was waiting by the runway when the plane skidded to a stop. “We knew it was only a matter of time; we had to get down,” said Hill. “We didn’t have anything on the plane to help him.”
Paramedics gave Prince a shot of Narcan—used to treat opioid overdoses—on the tarmac, Hill said. He regained consciousness by the time they got to Trinity Moline Hospital.
Hill was an intimate and trusted Prince collaborator. “I was with Prince the last two years of my life,” she said. She recorded and performed with him at Paisley Park, spent half of most months there and the rest at her home in Los Angeles. She opened for him in concert, in Baltimore, Detroit and Washington. He even co-produced her 2015 debut album, Back in Time and advised her how to deal with a major label record contract.
“Now he’s gone, and I realize I was leaning on him a lot,” she said. “And that’s what’s scary. I’m on my own.”
This wasn’t Hill’s first experience losing a pop star mentor. In 2009 she was chosen to duet with Michael Jackson on This Is It, his planned concert series. He died less than three weeks before the tour started. Hill performed “Heal the World” with a children’s choir at his televised memorial service.
But “Michael was different,” she said in another interview, “I didn’t know Michael,” except “as a fan and as someone that worked for him.”
Asked if her relationship with Prince was romantic, Hill said, “There was a very intense relationship. I deeply cared for him.” She added that she spoke with him shortly before he died. “He told me that he loved me and that he would always be there for me.”