"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.”
Speaking about the recent deaths of rock icons, Gene Simmons added: “Bowie was the most tragic of all because it was real sickness. All the other ones were a choice. (Prince) — drugs killed him. What do you think, he died from a cold?”
Gene was forced to backtrack his remarks, only a few hours after the interview was published, saying on social media that he'd “just got such shit from my family for my big mouth again. I apologise".
He explained his remarks came from anger about what drugs can do to people, saying: “I have a long history of getting very angry at what drugs do to the families/friends of the addicts. I get angry at drug users because of my experience being around them coming up in the rock scene. In my experience they’ve made my life, and the lives of their loved ones, difficult. I was raised in a culture/crowd where drug addicts were written off as losers, and since that’s the narrative I grew up with, it’s been hard to change with the times.
"Needless to say, I didn’t express myself properly here – I don’t shy away from controversy, and angry critics really don’t bother me at all. If I think I’m right, I’ll throw up a finger and dig my heels in and laugh. But this time, I was not. So, my apologies.”
By the time Gene published this apology, many had already castigated him for his heartless remarks. Even his bandmate Paul Stanley had distanced himself, saying, "Embarrassed by cold clueless statements re Prince’s death. Without the facts better to say nothing. My apologies."
The cause of Prince's death has yet to be established, with autopsy results still to be revealed.
In his interview, the Kiss rocker also expressed his admiration for Prince's talents, describing him as "heads, hands and feet above all the rest of them. I thought he left Michael [Jackson] in the dust".
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