Prince Erik had epilepsy and mild intellectual disability. His exact condition has not been published, but he may have suffered an injury at birth. He was described as handsome and physically healthy.
His mental disability was not noticeable in brief conversation, but would become apparent if he was engaged at length.
Because of his condition, he was seldom seen in public and led a quiet life away from the public eye, similar to the life of Prince John of the United Kingdom. In 1907-1909, a residence was built for him away from the public eye in Djursholm, a relatively new garden community north of Stockholm.
In 1917, he complained about having to live in such isolation, and it was decided that he should have a new residence closer to Stockholm. However, he died the next year of the Spanish flu at Drottningholm Palace.
His mother, who herself had poor health and spent parts of the year in Italy, was abroad at the time.
His former residence on Germaniavägeneral in Djursholm has been in private ownership since the 1960s and today (2011) is the private residence of South Africa"s ambassador to Sweden.
Because he was a member of the royal family, he was present in official royal photographs, but he had no official tasks.