Kiss rock icon Gene Simmons has apologised for his comments regarding the death of music legend Prince. In an interview, Simmons said Prince "killed himself" through the use of drugs – but the Crazy Crazy Nights rocker now admits that he did not express his views in a sensitive manner.

Prince died at the age of 57 on 21 April 2016, and although the cause of death is yet to be determined, multiple reports have suggested prescription drugs were involved. In an interview with Newsweek, Simmons, 66, said: "His drugs killed him. What do you think, he died from a cold?

"I think Prince was heads, hands and feet above all the rest of them. I thought he left [Michael] Jackson in the dust. Prince was way beyond that. But how pathetic that he killed himself. Don't kid yourself, that's what he did. Slowly, I'll grant you... but that's what drugs and alcohol is: a slow death."

After causing offence to many fans of the late singer, Simmons issued an apology via Instagram, stating: "I just got such s**t from my family for my big mouth again. I apologise – I have a long history of getting very angry at what drugs do to the families/friends of the addicts. I get angry at drug users because of my experience being around them coming up in the rock scene. In my experience they've made my life, and the lives of their loved ones, difficult."

36th NAACP Image Awards - Show
Prince died at the age of 57 on 21 April 2016. The cause of his death is yet to be determined Kevin Winter / getty

The rocker continued: "I was raised in a culture/crowd where drug addicts were written off as losers and since that's the narrative I grew up with, it's been hard to change with the times. Needless to say, I didn't express myself properly here – I don't shy away from controversy, and angry critics really don't bother me at all. If I think I'm right, I'll throw up a finger and dig my heels in and laugh. But this time, I was not. So, my apologies."

Simmons' Kiss bandmate Paul Stanley has also weighed into the controversy by offering his own apology. Stanley tweeted: "Embarrassed by cold clueless statements re Prince's death. Without all the facts better to say nothing. My apologies."