CHANHASSEN, Minn.—Prince, one of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times with hits including “Little Red Corvette,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” and “When Doves Cry,” was found dead at his home yesterday in suburban Minneapolis, according to his publicist.
He was 57.
His publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, told The Associated Press that the superstar “died at his home this morning at Paisley Park.”
The local sheriff said deputies found Prince unresponsive in an elevator late yesterday morning after being summoned to his home, but that first-responders couldn’t revive him.
No details about what may have caused his death have been released.
Prince postponed a concert in Atlanta on April 7, saying he had fallen ill with the ’flu, and he apologized to fans during a make-up concert last week.
U.S. President Barack Obama, for whom Prince was a White House guest last year, said he and his wife “joined millions of fans from around the world” in mourning Prince’s sudden death.
The dazzlingly talented and charismatic singer, songwriter, arranger, and instrumentalist drew upon musicians ranging from James Brown to Jimi Hendrix to the Beatles, creating a gender- and genre-defying blend of rock, funk, and soul.
He 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.”
The title song from “1999,” his funky and flippant anthem about an oncoming nuclear holocaust, includes one of the most quoted refrains of popular culture: “Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999.”
The Minneapolis native, born Prince Rogers Nelson, stood just 5’2” inches yet he made a powerful visual impact at the dawn of MTV.
Prince was a Little Richard for the ’80s, from his wispy moustache and tall pompadour to his colourful and suggestive outfits—the counterpart to the openly erotic lyrics that made him one of the most sexually-daring artists of the era.
But his greatest legacy was as a musician—summoning original and compelling sounds at will, whether playing guitar in a flamboyant style that drew on Hendrix, switching his vocals from a nasally scream to an erotic falsetto, or turning out album after album of stunningly innovative material.
Prince was fiercely protective of his independence, battling his record company over control of his material and even his name.
Prince’s records sold more than 100 million copies.
He won seven Grammys and received an Academy Award in 1985 for his music from “Purple Rain,” the movie in which he starred as a young musician.
In 2004, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which hailed him as a musical and social trailblazer.