Popstar Prince dies aged 57
- Credit: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Singer Prince has died at the age of 57, his publicist said.
American pop superstar Prince has died at the age of 57.
He was found dead at his home in Chanhassen in suburban Minneapolis on Thursday, his publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, told the Associated Press.
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. His hits included Little Red Corvette, Let's Go Crazy and When Doves Cry.
The Minneapolis native broke through in the late 1970s with the hits Wanna Be Your Lover and soared over the following decade with such albums as 1999 and Purple Rain.
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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 man who was born Prince Rogers Nelson stood just 5ft 2in 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.
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Among his other notable releases were 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 at 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,' he told The Associated Press in 2014. 'I was just trying to get here.'
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.'
He became even more famous with the release of the film Purple Rain in 1984, a seemingly autobiographical movie set in the club scene in his home town of Minneapolis.
The film was a huge success and the soundtrack album spent 24 weeks at the top of the charts and sold more than 13 million copies.
It was the first time in his career that Prince had recorded with, and credited, his backing band, which he named the Revolution.
•Tributes: 'The greatest live act I ever saw'
The world of showbusiness has paid its respects to Prince.
Chic frontman 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.'
Rapper Lupe Fiasco wrote: 'In Minneapolis right now...and it's raining... Prince...'
Singer Lily Allen said: 'PRINCE . You legend. Rest In Peace.'
KISS Singer Gene Simmons wrote: 'PRINCE, sad to say, has passed on!!! He was a Giant. My deep condolences go out to his family, friends and fans.'
Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Bill and Hillary, tweeted: 'Thank you Prince. All my thoughts & prayers are with all your loved ones.'
Singer Katy Perry also paid tribute to the musician, writing: 'And just like that...the world lost a lot of magic. Rest in peace Prince! Thanks for giving us so much...'
Actor Samuel L Jackson wrote: 'I'm Crushed!! UK news reporting Prince Is Dead?! For Real?! Massive Loss for us all! What a Genius! Speechless.'
British pop star Robbie Williams added: 'Now Prince? No no no.. RIP You genius x'
Radio DJ Huey Morgan said: 'RIP Prince! One of the best of all time! You will be missed my brother.'
Another DJ, Zane Lowe, wrote on Twitter: 'I can't believe he has gone. Thank you for everything Prince. You will always be The Greatest £RIPPrince.'
Hip hop artist Chance The Rapper said: 'None of prince's albums are available in digital format. You Have to find a physical copy. I appreciate that, bout to go an adventure.'
Meanwhile, Australian Russell Crowe wrote: 'The greatest live act I ever saw. Genius, poet, sexy mother f*****. RIP Prince.'
•Obituary: 'He could sing about sex and spirituality in the same verse'
From the very beginning of his nearly four decades in the music industry, Prince defied convention and courted controversy in equal measure.
The multi-instrumentalist fused traditional rock and roll guitar licks with a vocal range that mixed soul, funk and mainstream pop.
He could sing about sex and spirituality in the same verse, discuss both religion and science, and compose toe-tapping rhythms to accompany the darkest of subjects.
Famously flamboyant, he would stun dedicated audiences the world over with impromptu concerts, unlikely solo cover versions, and extravagant outfits.
It was often said that his incredible vocal range masked the fact that he was one of the greatest guitarists of his generation.
Prolific until his final days - he was working on yet another new album and planned to tour his much truncated Piano and a Microphone tour - the 57-year-old was said to have a cache of unreleased music in his sprawling Paisley Park mansion that would fill 100 records.