Entertainment Music Pop icon Prince dead at age 57

Pop icon Prince dead at age 57

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Pop music superstar Prince has died at his home in Minnesota aged 57, his publicist has confirmed.

Prince was found unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park Studios compound on Friday morning (AEST), which included his home, in the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen, according to a Carver County Sheriff’s Office statement.

Emergency workers tried to revive him shortly before 10am local time on Thursday, and he was pronounced dead a short time later.

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“It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson has died,” his publicist Anna Meacham said.

The cause of his death was still being determined with an autopsy report to be completed within about a day.

“When deputies and medical personnel arrived, they found an unresponsive adult male in the elevator,” Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson told US media.

“First responders attempted to provide life-saving CPR, but were unable to revive the victim.”

Celebrity news website TMZ reported that, according to multiple sources, Prince was treated for a drug overdosed six days before his death, when his private jet made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois and he was admitted to hospital.

Prince reportedly suffered flu-like symptoms last week, but continued to play concerts in Atlanta despite his illness.

He began his last-ever concert by apologising to fans for having to cancel earlier shows and finished the gig with Purple Rain, according to reports.

Prince reportedly told the audience to “wait a few days before you waste any prayers”.

Prince on guitar during his Purple Rain tour in the 1980s.
Prince on guitar during his Purple Rain tour in the 1980s. Photo: Getty

Memorable career

Born June 7, 1958, the influential multi-instrumentalist’s full name was Prince Rogers Nelson.

He was widely acclaimed as one of the most inventive musicians of his era.

His hits included ‘Little Red Corvette’, ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’, ‘Party Like It’s 1999’, ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ and ‘When Doves Cry’.

Prince sold more than 100 million records worldwide, won an Oscar for Best Original Score in the rock musical Purple Rain and was inducted into the Rock & Roll hall of fame in 2004.

In 1993, the flamboyant performer changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol, also known as the “Love Symbol”, before changing it back to Prince.

He was romantically linked to several famous women, including Madonna, Carmen Electra and Kim Basinger.

His marriages – to Mayte Garcia in 1996 and Manuela Testolini in 2001 – both ended in divorce. Garcia and he had a son, named Boy Gregory, but he died at one week old after suffering from a rare genetic disorder known as Pfeiffer syndrome.

In 2007 Prince gave a highly celebrated Super Bowl half-time performance during heavy rainfall at the stadium, which included his hit song ‘Purple Rain’.

Reviewer Kelefa Sanneh wrote in the New York Times that the performance was one of the “most thrilling” and “perhaps the best” halftime show ever.

He was reportedly penning a memoir, The Beautiful Ones.

Prince became an international sensation in the 1980s.
Prince became an international sensation in the 1980s. Photo: ABC/AFP

Tributes flow for the pop legend

Musicians and other celebrities led an immediate outpouring of tributes and expressions of shock, as some mourners gathered outside Paisley Park.

US President Barack Obama called Prince “one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time.”

“Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly,” Mr Obama said in a statement.

“Prince did it all. Funk. R&B. Rock and roll. He was a virtuoso instrumentalist, a brilliant bandleader, and an electrifying performer.”

Melbourne will honour the music legend by turning the city’s Arts Centre spire purple for a night.

Premier Daniel Andrews on Friday tweeted the “doves are crying in Victoria”.

“The Arts Centre’s spire will be lit in honour of the purple one,” Mr Andrews tweeted on Friday.

Prince was in Melbourne two months ago when he played several shows at the State Theatre.

Nile Rodgers tweeted: “RIP our dearly beloved Prince. Tears and love on our tour bus … I’ll never forget my brother. We’ve had good times,” American musician, producer, and guitarist”.

Madonna mourned Prince as a “true visionary”.

“He changed the world!! A true visionary. What a loss. I’m devastated,” she wrote on Instagram, where she posted a picture of herself with the Purple One.

“I Miss My Brother. Prince Was A Funny Cat. Great Sense Of Humor,” director Spike Lee tweeted.

Recording Academy president Neil Portnow mourned the seven-time Grammy winner, calling him “one of the most uniquely gifted artists of all time”.

“Never one to conform, he redefined and forever changed our musical landscape,” he said in a statement.

“Prince was an original who influenced so many, and his legacy will live on forever.”

Watch Prince’s legendary Super Bowl half-time performance

with reporting by Jackson Stiles, Kaitlin Thals and ABC

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