Scoop: Longtime chef says Prince fought throat, stomach pains lately

In this April 30, 2016 photo, chef Ray Roberts, who runs multiple Peoples Organic restaurants with his wife in the Twin Cities, prepares meals at his Edina, Minn., location. Roberts was the personal chef for music megastar Prince until he was found dead on April 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Kevin Burbach)

On stage, Prince was still captivating audiences at recent performances in Australia and California. He hosted a pop-up party at his Paisley Park studio, and there were few outward signs in his final months that anything was wrong.

But off stage, something was different. Prince began wanting meals that were easier to digest and was fighting off waves of sore throats and frequent upset stomachs, the musician’s personal chef said.

A law enforcement official said investigators are looking into whether Prince, who was found dead at his home on April 21, died from an overdose and whether a doctor was prescribing him drugs in the weeks beforehand.

Ray Roberts, who cooked for Prince nearly every day for almost three years, said in an interview that wasn’t the man he saw nearly every night, “not even a hint. Not at all.” But Roberts did start noticing changes in Prince’s diet — he was eating less and drinking less water, and looked like he was losing weight.

Jack Black rocks

The cast of Broadway’s new musical “School of Rock” got the endorsement Sunday of someone they’ve desperately wanted to impress for months — Jack Black.

Black saw a matinee at the Winter Garden Theatre with his son and went backstage to high-five cast members and pose for pictures. He embraced Alex Brightman, the actor who plays Dewey — his old role — and signed a guitar for actor Spencer Moses.

“It was so good. There were so many times I went, ‘I could not have done it that well,’” he said, surrounded by thrilled kids. “You made me laugh. You made he cry. You made me rock.”

The stage version of “School of Rock” stays close to the plot of the Jack Black-led 2003 film.

Circus ends elephant use

An elephant carrying a performer holding an American flag kicked off the final elephant performance at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus on Sunday, as the show closes its own chapter on a practice that has entertained audiences in America for two centuries but has come under fire by animal rights activists.

Six Asian elephants were delivering their final performances in Providence, R.I., and five performed in Wilkes Barre, Penn., earlier Sunday.

In Providence, after a trip around the ring, the elephant carrying the flag stood at attention during the national anthem. A few minutes later, six elephants entered the ring, each holding the tail of the one in front of her.

Happy birthday

Actress Kay Panabaker (“No Ordinary Family,”) is 26. … Actress Ellie Kemper (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “The Office”) is 36. … Actor Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) is 44. … Country singer Ty Herndon is 54. … Singer Lou Gramm of Foreigner is 66. … Singer Englebert Humperdinck is 80.

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