Sheila E. on 38-year friendship with Prince, his health and how he thought microwaves were horrible

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The mourning continues for fans of Prince who died suddenly on Thursday at his Paisley Park compound. The investigation into his death is ongoing, but perhaps it's hardest for those who knew him well. 

KTVU's Amber Lee spoke to Oakland native, Sheila E., Prince's one-time protege, close friend of 38 years and fellow musician.

She flew to Prince's home at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnestota to mourn his loss. She talks about his healthy eating habits, his commitment to his craft and the dedication he expressed through music to his fans. 

KTVU: How are you holding up? How are you doing?

Sheila E: Umm…not doing very well. It’s been very challenging, I’m exhausted. I’m not done crying. I’m still grieving. It’s hard for me to celebrate right now. I flew in yesterday to Minneapolis. I went straight to Paisley, met with some of the people and later on [with] family. It’s just surreal. I tweeted the meaning of loss. It’s different, losing my best friend and someone that I love so dearly. 38 years of being together just overnight changed my life.

KTVU: Were you aware of any health problems?

I called him last week because I heard he had a little scare and was flu-symptom like, so I called and they said he was resting and that he was a little under the weather, and then I called to see how he was doing. He was sleeping when I called. I just said ‘Let him know that I called. Call me back when he gets a chance’, and then I heard he had a thing on Saturday. I was a little concerned because he just had this little bitty scare, so I was like, ‘Let me make sure he’s okay,’ but no symptoms.

I was just telling someone, a lot of people today; we’re like athletes. You know our show is very intense, playing with him for so long. I was playing two or three-hour shows. It’s a lot. A lot of people didn’t know that me playing, my back went out. I was partially paralyzed for two months.  They told me I wasn’t going to play. I know how my body hurts and is sore and I know when you think about it his feet had been bothering him for years. He took care of that. It was fine.

If you think about the things that we did when we were young, we had no idea, that yeah, when you get off stage, ice your body, take care of yourself. You know we did after-parties instead. Think about him jumping off risers on those heels for like years. That’s gonna take a toll on his body. No one had done that. That’s what’s so awesome about him. If they would have told us what’s gonna mess you up the way you guys play wearing heels and running around like that for hours on end is gonna mess up; your back, your knee and your ankle. We didn’t know that.

He’s in great health. He takes care of himself. He eats better than I do. He has a cook and sometimes I’d cook for him when I was there. He never used a microwave. Everything had to be fresh and I don’t blame him, because microwaves are horrible. He ate really well.

KTVU: When was the last time you saw or spoke with Prince?

It had been a little while, but that’s to be expected. Sometimes we don’t even realize that months had gone by and we hadn’t talked to each other and then we’d pick up where we’d left off like it was two hours ago.

KTVU: What is the hardest part for you?

Losing my friend. Not being able to say goodbye. I don’t even know what happened to him. To walk into Paisley Park yesterday…walk in there and smell him in the room, in the building and him not being there, it just broke my heart.

I just want to say to all the fans, I’ve not turned on the television, and I don’t know what’s going on in the world right now. I just want to thank the fans for supporting him all these years. [For] everyone’s prayers and good thoughts for his family and his friends and those of us that knew him well and just to let everyone know that he worked very hard and he did everything for them. He did everything for the fans he cared about. His music, he wanted them to love what he did. That was his biggest show. Everything he did was about his music. It was life. The music that was created at Paisley Park, it’s a monument. We hope for it to be a museum, because that’s what he always wanted. I just want to thank the fans for loving him unconditionally.

They’re the most loving fans in the world.