Rock star Gene Simmons, 66, is about the same age as recently deceased musicians David Bowie and Prince, but he says a few things set them apart. In a recent interview with Newsweek, the KISS frontman suggested the world might have a few more living performers if it wasn’t for poor life choices.
“Bowie was the most tragic of all because it was real sickness,” Simmons said of performers who had been lost before their time. “All the other ones were a choice.”
When asked if he was suggesting that even Prince’s passing was a choice, he responded, “His drugs killed him. What do you think, he died from a cold?”
He went on to praise Prince’s legacy but to pin the blame squarely on the late performer’s shoulders when it came to his unexpected passing.
“I think Prince was heads, hands and feet above all the rest of them. I thought he left [Michael] Jackson in the dust. Prince was way beyond that. But how pathetic that he killed himself. 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.”
While Prince’s cause of death is still being investigated, there is growing evidence that he had an addiction to pain killers. Prince had hip replacement surgery in 2010 and had been seen in public walking with a cane.
But Simmons insisted that the addiction allegations around Prince’s death will not impact his legacy negatively.
“Your legacy becomes even bigger, you become more iconic, if you die before your time—Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and all that. They capture the youth,” said Simmons.
“But I’m not willing to do that—sorry. I really enjoy getting up every day. If it means at the end I become a pathetic version of what I am, so be it.”