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Aretha Franklin: 'Zika virus may have been the cause of Prince's death'

ShowbizBy Sunday World
Aretha Franklin: 'Zika virus may have been the cause of Prince's death'

Soul star Aretha Franklin has offered up a scary theory about Prince's shock death - she thinks a Zika virus infection cost him his life.

The 57-year-old Purple Rain musician died at his Paisley Park estate in Chanhassen, Minnesota on Thursday (21Apr16), a week after he was hospitalised with flu-like symptoms in Illinois.

And among all the tributes from the superstar's famous friends and fans, Aretha suspects the ailment that caused his shocking death may have been more severe than even he realised.

"They’re saying flu-like symptoms," the 74-year-old Think hitmaker said during an appearance on U.S. newsman Brian Williams' MSNBC show on Thursday. “I’m wondering if it has anything to do with this Zika virus.”

The new disease has reached such a heightened level, World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan issued a statement last month (Mar16), noting the virus is spreading and increasing in strength at an "alarming" rate.

However, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim the Zika virus has very rarely caused the death of those infected - and most cases do not require hospital care. Although most people who are infected do not exhibit symptoms, many manifestations of the ailment include conjunctivitis, rash, fever, headache, as well as joint and muscle pain.

The Zika virus is known to cause acute birth defects, such as microcephaly and other forms of brain damage in babies - for this reason pregnant women have been dubbed the most susceptible in areas where Zika is spreading.

No vaccine exists yet for the virus and medical authorities have advised people to take preventative measures by avoiding areas where mosquitoes breed, as the disease is primarily transmitted through the insects.

Reports of Zika virus infection originated in Brazil in 2014, and it has since spread to 30 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, however, BBC News is reporting 2.2 billion people across the world in continents such as North America, Africa, Asia and Oceania are now vulnerable to the contagion due to the rapid spread of the virus by mosquitoes.

- Cover Media