Prince's Sister Tyka Nelson Says Late Icon 'Kept Avoiding Questions' During Their Last Phone Call: 'Talk to Me'

The musician recalled her final memories of her late brother ahead of her farewell performance in their Minneapolis hometown on Friday

<p>Getty(2)</p> Prince; Tyka Nelson


Prince; Tyka Nelson
  • Prince's sister, Tyka Nelson, recalled her final memories with The Purple One in a new interview with the Star Tribune

  • She discussed her last time speaking to her late brother on the phone and her final time seeing him in person

  • Prince died of an opioid overdose in April 2016 at 57 years old

Tyka Nelson is revisiting her final moments with her late brother Prince.

The singer-songwriter, 64, is slated to give her farewell performance at the Dakota in Minneapolis on Friday, June 7 (the same day as Prince's 66th birthday). According to the Star Tribune, it marks her first show since 2018 in Australia and her first time singing in her hometown again in over 15 years.

Related: Remembering Prince's Life in Photos

In an interview with the publication, Nelson said she’s apparently retiring from her public role as Prince's sister as she’s “getting older.” But ahead of her upcoming performance — which she said will “honor Prince and my dad” — she looked back at her life and some of the last memories she has of her older brother, who died on April 21, 2016, at age 57.

According to Nelson, she last spoke to the “When Doves Cry” icon on the phone four days before he was found dead at his Paisley Park Studios home. "He kept avoiding questions. I kept getting mad,” the singer said of their conversation. “I felt like, 'Talk to me for two seconds.' He'd change the subject, make a joke and then we'd both laugh.”

<p>Kevin Mazur/WireImage</p> Prince in Los Angeles in February 2015

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Prince in Los Angeles in February 2015

Nelson also said the Minnesota native, born Prince Rogers Nelson, asked if she could “find more information about our family” during their phone call. “Prince wanted me to find [our sister] Sharon's number,” the singer added. “I didn't question it. It was like, 'Send this picture to that person.' OK. What for?"

Recalling the last time she saw her brother, Nelson noted it was during The Purple One’s April 2016 hospitalization after his private plane made an emergency landing. "There was a lady who wanted to hug him and the protector in me stood up — the lady was taller than me,” the songwriter remembered. “The bodyguards came over and got her. Prince looked at me [like], 'What you gonna do?' So that made us smile.”

Related: Prince's Purple Rain Is Being Adapted Into Broadway-Bound Musical, 40 Years After Film and Album's Release

Nelson — who said she’s currently working on a memoir “about me and my family” — also shared that she wasn’t aware Prince had any illnesses but did notice he seemed to have lost a little weight during their final in-person encounter.

"A couple of times, I said, 'How are you really?' He didn't go into anything with me. That was bothering me, and he knew it was, but that was all he wanted to tell me,” she recalled, adding, “I don't want to go into that. You're going to spoil the book. Don't you want me to make money?"

<p>Michael Tran/FilmMagic</p> Tyka Nelson in Los Angeles in November 2016

Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Tyka Nelson in Los Angeles in November 2016

Related: Janelle Monáe Reflects on Working with Prince: 'He Never Let His Mystery Get in the Way of His Mentorship'

In 2016, Prince’s publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, confirmed his death in a statement that read, “It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57. There are no further details as to the cause of death at this time.”

It was later revealed on June 2, 2016, that the legend’s death was an accident caused by “fentanyl toxicity” and that “the decedent self-administered fentanyl,” per a press release from the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office. Earlier that day, a law enforcement source told the Associated Press that opioid overdose was the cause of death, though they didn’t specify fentanyl.

Following her brother’s death, Nelson honored his memory and legacy in an emotional speech at the 2016 American Music Awards. “Prince defied the odds,” the iconic pioneer’s sister said while accepting his posthumous top album trophy for his 1984 smash Purple Rain. “A Black teen from Minneapolis with a goal to electrify the world, he had the courage to be different. With his vision [and] God-given talent, he is still one of the world’s most respected and loved artists."

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