Prince dies 17 years after 1999
CHANHASSEN, Minn. (AP)
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 in suburban Minneapolis yesterday. He was 57 years old.
He was unresponsive in an elevator when he was found by sheriff's deputies who had been called to his compound, a Minnesota sheriff said.
Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson said deputies responded to a medical call about 9:43 a.m. Medical personnel tried CPR, but couldn't revive Prince, who was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m.
The sheriff's brief statement said the death was under investigation and provided no other details.
News of Prince's death sparked an outpouring of grief and mourning from around the world. It came just a few days after he was reported to have been hospitalised on Friday in Illinois on his way back from a concert in Atlanta.
No details about what may have caused his death have been released. Prince postponed a concert in Atlanta on April 7, after coming down with the flu and he apologised to fans during a make-up concert last week.
President Barack Obama released a statement yesterday saying he and his wife "joined millions of fans from around the world" in mourning Prince's sudden death.
"Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly, or touched quite so many people with their talent," said Obama, for whom Prince was a White House guest last year. "'A strong spirit transcends rules,' Prince once said - and nobody's spirit was stronger, bolder, or more creative."
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 widely imitated blend of rock, funk and soul.
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. The title song from 1999 includes one of the most quoted refrains of popular culture: "Tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999."
Born Prince Rogers Nelson, he stood just 5 feet, 2 inches, yet made a powerful visual impact at the dawn of MTV, from his wispy moustache and tall pompadour to his colorful and suggestive outfits.
He was equally powerful musically, summoning original and compelling sounds at will whether playing guitar in a flamboyant style that drew on 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 are 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, for a time insisting that he be called "TAFKAP," or The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, and identified with a key-like symbol. Prince once wrote "slave" on his face in protest of not owning his work and famously fought 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 AP 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.