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Prince dead at 57

Last Updated Apr 21, 2016 at 6:48 pm EDT

Pop superstar Prince, widely acclaimed as one of the most inventive musicians of his era with hits including “Little Red Corvette,” ”Let’s Go Crazy“ and ”When Doves Cry,“ was found dead at his home on Thursday in suburban Minneapolis, according to his publicist.

His publicist told Kiss 92.5 that the music icon died at his home in Chanhassen. No details were immediately released.

It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57. There are no further details as to the cause of death at this time.

The Minneapolis native broke through in the late 1970s with the hits “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” and “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” and soared over the following decade with such albums as “1999” and “Purple Rain.”

The title song from “1999” includes one of the most widely quoted refrains of popular culture: “Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999.”

The man born Prince Rogers Nelson stood just 5 feet, 2 inches and seemed to summon the most original and compelling sounds at will, whether playing guitar in a flamboyant style that openly drew upon Jimi Hendrix, switching his vocals from a nasally scream to an erotic falsetto or turning out album after album of stunningly original material. Among his other notable releases: “Sign O’ the Times,” ”Graffiti Bridge“ and ”The Black Album.“

He was also fiercely protective of his independence, battling his record company over control of his material and even his name. Prince once wrote “slave” on his face in protest of not owning his work and famously battled and then departed his label, Warner Bros., before returning a few years ago.

“What’s happening now is the position that I’ve always wanted to be in,” Prince told The Associated Press in 2014. “I was just trying to get here.”

In 2004, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame, which hailed him as a musical and social trailblazer.

“He rewrote the rulebook, forging a synthesis of black funk and white rock that served as a blueprint for cutting-edge music in the Eighties,” reads the Hall’s dedication. “Prince made dance music that rocked and rock music that had a bristling, funky backbone. From the beginning, Prince and his music were androgynous, sly, sexy and provocative.”

Gil Moore of Metal Works Studios in Mississauga, where Prince recorded his 2004 album ‘Musicology’, called him a true artist.

“I think part of Prince’s magic is he transcended style,” said Moore. “He was the perfect person to change his name to The Artist because he truly was so unique.

“When he was on his music, he was so dialed in. He seemed to be able to hold everything at bay and yet he was not high, not drinking, not smoking, eating health food, drinking water, he was skinny as a rake, healthy… that’s what makes it such a tragedy at 57.”

A small group of fans quickly gathered in the rain Thursday outside his music studio, Paisley Park, where Prince’s gold records are on the walls and the purple motorcycle he rode in his 1984 breakout movie, “Purple Rain,” is on display. The white building surrounded by a fence is about 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

Steven Scott, 32, of Eden Prairie, said he was at Paisley Park last Saturday for Prince’s dance party. He called Prince “a beautiful person” whose message was that people should love one another.

“He brought people together for the right reasons,” Scott said.

 

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