KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons spoke to Newsweek about the recent deaths of music legends of David Bowie and Prince. He said: "Bowie was the most tragic of all because it was real sickness." As for Prince, "his drugs killed him," Simmons explained. "What do you think, he died from a cold?"
Initial toxicology tests showed the painkiller Percocet was present in Prince's body at his time of death, but autopsy and toxicology results aren't complete, and the artist's cause of death remains unknown.
Simmons added that he still holds Prince in high regard as a musician. "I think Prince was 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 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."
The 66-year-old KISS rocker, who claims to have "never been high or drunk," says he will never understand why so many iconic musicians fall into drug abuse. "The one question I have is: When we all start out and we have these big dreams and you finally get your wish. You have more money than God and fame. What is that insane gene in us, well, a lot of us, that makes us want to succumb to the cliché of clichés: drugs and alcohol?"
Simmons also said that he is planning on being around for a while. "At some point, my hair and teeth are gonna fall out," he said. "At some point, you'll see pathetic Gene Simmons at 80 years old with a colostomy bag and a wheelchair. I'll grant you it'll be a studded wheelchair and I'll have a hot nurse wheeling me around. … 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. My gravestone will not say: 'I wish I woulda, shoulda, coulda.'"