Pop superstar Prince, who was 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 and studio, Paisley Park, on Thursday in suburban Minneapolis, according to his publicist.
His publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, told The Associated Press that the music icon died at his home in Chanhassen. No details were immediately released. Prince was reported to have been hospitalized in Illinois last Friday on his way back from a concert in Atlanta. He subsequently appeared at a dance party at Paisley Park.
An autopsy was conducted a day after his death but the Carver County, Minn. Sheriff’s Office said in a press conference that results won’t be released for most likely, weeks.
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.”
At his 2004 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Prince performed the Beatle’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” with Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne and others.
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.”
Prince to me was an anomaly. I first heard “Purple Rain” when I was in middle school in the Philippines, and at first I couldn’t understand his appeal. All the other cool kids had him in their Walkmans. JUMP TO: PHOTOS: Prince – A life …
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.”
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.
PHOTO Gallery: Prince – A life in music