Prince died at his Paisley Park compound, located in the southeast Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen today (Thursday, Apr, 21).
“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,” his publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, wrote in a statement.
Prince was briefly hospitalized Friday after his plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Illinois’ Quad City International Airport. Noel-Schure told USA TODAY that he had been struggling with the flu.
Prince, a 2004 Rock Hall of Fame inductee, won multiple Grammys. He also won a best-original-song Oscar for his 1984 film Purple Rain. His long list of hit songs includes 1999, Little Red Corvette,When Doves Cry, Let’s Go Crazy and Kiss.
The 5-foot-2 Minneapolis native, born Prince Rogers Nelson, broke through in the late 1970s and never forgot where he came from. He continued to live and work there for the rest of his life.
He also gave a leg-up to other musicians such as Sheila E. He also wrote for other performers, including Sheena Easton (Sugar Walls) and the Bangles (Manic Monday).
Prince is also partially responsible for the parental advisory warnings on album covers. In the late 1980s, Tipper Gore, then the wife of politician Al Gore, reportedly cofounded the Parent Music Resource after she heard his explicit single Darling Nikki.
He famously changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol when contract renegotiations with his record label, Warner Bros., broke down in 1993. Even after his contract was over and he resumed using his name, he was still routinely referred to as “The Artist Formally Known as Prince” and “TAFKAP.”
Prince remained outspoken until the end, recording Baltimore, a tribute to Freddie Gray, a victim of police brutality, in 2015.
He was also a devout Jehovah’s Witness, having converted from Seventh Day Adventist Church in 2001, not that he called it that. “I don’t see it really as a conversion,” he told talk-show host Tavis Smiley in a rare 2013 interview. “More, you know, it’s a realization. It’s like Morpheus and Neo in The Matrix.” He frequently “freaked out” fans when he knocked on doors as part of its proselytization practice. While it’s not known if he managed to win any new converts, he probably got past the front door more often than most of his fellow evangelists.
On a personal note I worked with Lionel Richie in the eighties, “Dancing on the Ceiling” Tour. Prince opened for Lionel a number of times in major cities. Although he was a little eccentric behind the scenes, I will never forget his charisma on stage, he was definitely one of the most charismatic and talented entertainers I have ever known. I too want to offer my condolences to his family, “Cubby”, his crew, and band mates. What a year this has been……….