Pop icon Prince, widely acclaimed as one of the most inventive musicians of his era, was found dead at his home on Thursday in suburban Minneapolis, according to his publicist. He was 57.
His publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, told The Associated Press news agency that the superstar died at his studio in his home in Chanhassen. No details were immediately released.
The Minneapolis native broke through in the late 1970s with the hits “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” and “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” and soared over the following decade with such albums as “1999” and “Purple Rain”.
His other major successes included hits such as “Little Red Corvette,” “Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry”.
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.”
|Prince was found unresponsive at his Minnesota home and was later declared dead, his publicist said [File: Lucas Jackson/Reuters]|
The man born Prince Rogers Nelson stood just 1,57m 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.”
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.”
His Purple Badness. LOVE. https://t.co/Ywjd0WUIi7
— Spike Lee (@SpikeLee) April 21, 2016
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.”
|Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame in 2004, which hailed him as a musical and social trailblazer [File: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters]|
A small group of fans quickly gathered in the rain on 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.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies