Seven-time Grammy winner Prince, who was known for megahits like “When Doves Cry” and “Purple Rain,” has died at the age of 57.
Prince was found dead in the elevator of his Paisley Park estate in Chanhassen, Minn. on Thursday. Deputies and medical personnel found the music icon unresponsive when they arrived at his home and they performed CPR but it was unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m.
The singer’s publicist confirmed his death to Fox News.
“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 rep wrote in a statement.
According to a press release, “The Carver County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office, are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death.”
Prince had been rushed to a hospital last Friday morning in Illinois and was released several hours later. His rep told TMZ he had been battling the flu for several weeks.
Prince was born in Minneapolis, and broke through in the late 1970s with the hits “Wanna Be Your Lover” and soared over the following decade with the 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 singer, songwriter, arranger and instrumentalist was widely acclaimed as one of the most inventive musicians of his era, drawing upon influences ranging from James Brown to the Beatles to Jimi Hendrix.
In his lifetime, he sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time.
Prince was 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 1993 Prince memorably changed his name to a symbol and became widely known as the artist formerly known as Prince. When he was inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame in 2004, he was hailed 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.”
Rarely lacking in confidence, Price effortlessly absorbed the music of others and made it sound like Prince, whether the James Brown guitar riff on “Kiss” or the Beatle-esque, psychedelic pop of “Raspberry Beret.”
He also proved a source of hits for others, from Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” to Cyndi Lauper’s “When You Were Mine.” He also wrote “Manic Monday” for the Bangles.
MTV canceled its regular programming Thursday and went wall-to-wall with Prince music videos following the news of his death. President Obama released a statement regarding the superstar’s death.
“Today, the world lost a creative icon. Michelle and I join millions of fans from around the world in mourning the sudden death of Prince. Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly, or touched quite so many people with their talent. As one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time, Prince did it all. Funk. R&B. Rock and roll. He was a virtuoso instrumentalist, a brilliant bandleader, and an electrifying performer… Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his band, and all who loved him.?”
Prince had been touring and recording right up until his death, releasing four albums in the last 18 months, including two on the Tidal streaming service last year. He performed in Atlanta last week as part of his “Piano and a Microphone” tour, a stripped down show that has featured a mix of his hits like “Purple Rain” or “Little Red Corvette” and some B-sides from his extensive library.
Prince debuted the intimate format at his Paisley Park studios in January, treating fans to a performance that was personal and was both playful and emotional at times.
The musician had seemed to be shedding his reclusive reputation. He hosted several late-night jam sessions where he serenaded Madonna, celebrated the Minnesota Lynx’s WNBA championship and showcased his latest protege, singer Judith Hill.
Ever surprising, he announced on stage in New York City last month that he was writing his memoir. “The Beautiful Ones” was expected to be released in the fall of 2017 by publishing house Spiegel & Grau. The publishing house has not yet commented on status of book, but a press release about the memoir says: “Prince will take readers on an unconventional and poetic journey through his life and creative work.” It says the book will include stories about Prince’s music and “the family that shaped him and the people, places, and ideas that fired his creative imagination.”
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 in Chanhassen, about 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis.