Grammy Award-winning singer Judith Hill spent the last couple of years of her career under Prince's tutelage. She toured with him and created music with him. She was also one of only two other people on a plane with Prince when it made an emergency landing just days before his death.
In an interview with the New York Times, Hill spoke about the moments before and after she realized that her friend was sick. Hill said that they were having dinner on the plane and, thankfully, she was looking at him during their conversation, because he blacked out. Hill and Prince's assistant and friend, Kirk Johnson, tried to "wake" him but couldn't. It was then that they got the pilot's attention.
“We knew it was only a matter of time; we had to get down,” Hill told the Times. “We didn’t have anything on the plane to help him.”
The plane was headed from Atlanta, where Prince had performed what would be one of his last shows, to Paisley Park when it made an emergency landing in Moline, Ill., at 1:17 a.m. April 15. Prince was then given a shot of naloxone on the tarmac, which revived him, before he was rushed to a hospital emergency room.
Hill said that at the hospital, Prince's mood was upbeat and he seemed like his old self.
“He wasn’t dreary or drowsy, or anything. He wanted to watch Zootopia. He loved those films. I was going to pull it up on my phone. He said: ‘No, no, no, not here. We’re going to pick a special time and place to watch that.’”
Hill also said that she never realized Prince was dealing with any pain or medical issues until then.
“I only know what everyone knows about his pain—I read about it,” she said. "He was quick on his feet. Never said anything, that this is hurting, never a sign of struggle. That’s why it’s all very shocking.”
Although Hill didn't divulge if she and Prince had shared a romantic relationship, you could still tell it had been a special one.
“There was a very intense relationship. I deeply cared for him. He told me that he loved me and that he would always be there for me," Hill stated.
When she heard about Prince's death through text messages and calls from friends, she said it was the worst day of her life.
“I couldn’t believe anything that painful could happen," Hill stated.
As far as what she plans to do now, besides make music, it seems that the loss she's suffered isn't going to be easy to accept.
“Now he’s gone, and I realize I was leaning on him a lot. And that’s what’s scary. I’m on my own," Hill stated.
Read Hill's full interview at the New York Times.