Despite praising Prince as possibly the greatest musician of all time, in an interview with Newsweek Simmons blamed His Purpleness for killing himself with drugs and alcohol. (Prescription painkillers are being investigated as leading to Prince's death and the powerful painkiller Percocet was reportedly present in the 57-year-old artist's body when he was found dead in an elevator at his Paisley Park compound on April 21.)
"His drugs killed him. What do you think, he died from a cold?" he said. "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."
PHOTOS: Gene Simmons through the years
In the wake of recent deaths shaking the music world, Simmons said David Bowie's passing "was the most tragic of all because it was real sickness... All the other ones were a choice."
Simmons himself claimed to have never been "high or drunk in my life," with the exception of a "dentist's chair where they knock you out." He added, "I can almost understand drinking or getting high if it made my schmeckel bigger, or made me smarter, but nothing happens."