Prince's longtime Minnesota friend revealed to the public April 29 the singer’s biggest fear of dying alone had come true.
Former journalist Neal Karlen divulged further details about their 31-year friendship in a public letter for the Minneapolis StarTribune.
"I just pray Prince wasn’t cognizant, even for a mite of a moment, that he was dying alone in a nondescript elevator, in a Wonder Bread suburb of the city that was one day too late in telling him we loved him as much as he loved Minneapolis," Karlen writes.
Karlen continues the letter, explaining Prince cared more about dying with people by his side than even where he passed away.
“Prince didn’t care if the end came in a Chanhassen elevator inside a building where he owned all the buttons; or in an opulent Prime Minister’s suite in a Parisian hotel,” Karlen says. “He just didn’t want to die alone.”
What’s more, Prince and Karlen had talked about what the afterlife might look like in a 1985 interview the former journalist conducted with the pop star for Rolling Stone.
“I think there is an afterworld. For some reason, I think it's going to look just like here, but that's part ... I don't really like talking about this stuff. It's so personal,” Prince said back then after Karlen asked him if he believed in heaven.
Prince became friends with Karlen after he interviewed the singer for articles in Rolling Stone and The New York Times 31 years ago.
Their friendship continued even after Karlen quit music journalism. Karlen later worked with Prince, unpaid, on some of his musical projects.
“Looking back half a lifetime ago, that was the most profitable thing I’ve ever worked on, karmically speaking,” Karlen said of the experience.
At the end of the letter to the newspaper, Karlen reveals the final note Prince ever wrote to him: “Neal, Please treasure our friendship as I do,” the late singer wrote before ending, “4 real. I love you.”
Karlen ends the letter replying with, “If he was right [about heaven] ... well ... hey, Prince! Will you give me a call one last time? I forgot to tell you something. I love you, too.”