Prince Dead At 57
Legendary musician Prince has died at age 57. TMZ first reported that the body of the artist, whose real name is Prince Rogers Nelson, was found Thursday morning at his Paisley Park compound near Minneapolis, Minnesota.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) April 21, 2016
UPDATE: USA Today reports that Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson confirmed Thursday afternoon that deputies and medics were dispatched to Paisley Park around 9:43 a.m., where Prince was found unresponsive in an elevator inside his home. The officials’ attempts to revive him failed and Prince was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m. The sheriff’s department said that it is still investigating the death with assistance from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office.
Last week, on April 15, Prince’s private jet was forced to make an unscheduled landing in Illinois hours after the musician had performed in Atlanta. He was reportedly taken to a nearby hospital by an ambulance. A spokesman told TMZ at the time that Prince had been battling the flu.
Born on June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, Prince rose through the pop-rock ranks in the late 1970s with albums like For You and Prince, to become one of the biggest music superstars of the ’80s. Follow-up albums Dirty Mind and Controversy helped grow the funky singer-songwriter’s fan base, but it was Prince’s groundbreaking 1982 album 1999 that kicked his popularity into the stratosphere, thanks in part to videos for songs like “Little Red Corvette” and the LP’s title track going into heavy rotation on then-new television network MTV.
Prince’s famous backing band The Revolution made their debut with Grammy-winning album Purple Rain, the soundtrack to the film of the same name. The album contained the hits “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Purple Rain,” “I Would Die 4 U” and the chart-topping “When Doves Cry,” which became the best-selling single of 1984.
MTV released the following statement on April 21: “MTV is heartbroken and in utter disbelief at the news that the world has lost Prince Rogers Nelson so suddenly and so before his time. Prince was a once-in-a-lifetime artist who transcended every medium and genre he touched and created music with a passion and individuality that inspired multiple generations. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family, friends and millions of fans.”
The singer sealed his iconic status as further hits filled the airwaves throughout the 1980s, including “Kiss,” “Raspberry Beret,” “Sign O’ The Times” and “U Got The Look.” Prince capped the decade by composing music for the soundtrack to director Tim Burton‘s 1989 film adaptation of Batman.
Prince swapped out The Revolution for backing band New Power Generation as the ’80s moved into the ’90s, and 1991 LP Diamonds And Pearls kept the hits coming. Shortly after its release, Prince infamously altered his name to an unpronounceable symbol that combined the male and female signs. In an effort to free himself from his contractual obligations to label Warner Bros. quickly, Prince put forth several poorly-selling releases throughout the ’90s at a rapid pace.
Since 1996, Prince had released music via his own label, NPG, and continued to tour regularly. In 2007, over 140 million viewers tuned in to watch the musician’s Super Bowl halftime performance, which included several of his classic hits plus covers of others’ songs.
Artists who have recorded songs written by Prince include Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Sinead O’ Connor, The Bangles, Sheila E., Sheena Easton, The Time and Martika.
Prince was married twice, to dancer Mayte Garcia (from 1996 to 1999) and Manuela Testolini (2001 to 2006), and was in the process of writing a memoir titled The Beautiful Ones, according to the BBC.
The loss of Prince adds to a year that has already seen the deaths of music legends like David Bowie, Natalie Cole and Merle Haggard.