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Inside Prince's last days: Did he know the end was near?

A celebrity gossip junky, Caroline Goddard has been writing entertainment news for longer than the world has known Kim Kardashian's name. Follow her on Twitter at @GoddardCaroline.

Prince's death is shocking, but may not have been as sudden as we think

Iconic singer/songwriter Prince was found dead in his Paisley Park recording studio this morning, leaving fans completely shell-shocked. But did he know that his own death was close at hand? Certain clues in his behavior recently could point to yes.

While the rest of the world's music fans have been busy wallowing in grief over the terrible losses we've suffered this year, including David Bowie, Merle Haggard, Glen Frey, Paul Kantner, Maurice White, Joey Feek and Prince protégé Vanity, Prince himself may have been busy preparing for his own death.

Just a month ago, Prince announced that he was writing his memoirs with the aim of publication in 2017. With a working title of The Beautiful Ones, an homage to a 1984 song on his Purple Rain album, he planned it as "an unconventional and poetic journey through [Prince's] life and creative work," according to a press release. While this on its own doesn't necessarily mean anything, it could be that Prince knew he was suffering from a serious illness and wanted to get his memoir done as soon as possible.

More: Prince thrills fans with unexpected release

In the weeks leading up to his death, he canceled two concerts, citing health concerns, but last Thursday he took the stage at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.

"He started the concert with an apology. He said he was sorry for canceling the week before. But he gave an incredible performance with at least four encores," attendee Celeste Headlee told People. "There was a tiny bit of gravel in his voice from time to time, but that was the only indication that he'd felt ill the week before.

"He left everything on the stage, like he always did. After one song, he got up and left the stage because he was overcome by emotion. Honestly, it's too much for me to take in at this point."

The next day, his private jet was forced to make an emergency landing in Illinois after he suffered a medical crisis on board, just 48 minutes from landing at his home airport.

The day after that, after being sent home to rest, Prince appeared in front of a crowd at a $10 Paisley Park dance party and according to the Star Tribune, ominously told them, "Wait a few days before you waste any prayers."

More: Watch Prince's video for "Breakfast Can Wait"

Prince was also spotted visiting a local pharmacy four times in the last week, including a stop less than 12 hours before he was found dead.

So was Prince suffering from a chronic disease? Possibly. The superstar was known to be intensely private, which made news of his memoirs even more surprising. But his team told the media that he was simply suffering from the flu and dehydration. One thing is for sure: whatever was wrong, he went downhill fast.

Officials are investigating the cause of death.

Before you go, check out our slideshow below.

Prince's death is shocking, but may not have been as sudden as we think
Image: WENN
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