NEW YORK: Pop icon Prince — one of the most influential but elusive figures in music — died suddenly at his compound in Minnesota on Thursday, a representative said. He was 57.
“It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning,” said his spokeswoman, Yvette Noel-Schure.
She did not offer further details. Local authorities outside Minneapolis said that they were investigating a death at Paisley Park, with local media showing images of emergency vehicles.
The 57-year-old pop legend last week was taken to a hospital after his private jet made an unscheduled landing.
But Prince was said to be suffering the flu and made light of the situation, later posting on Twitter about a local shop in Minneapolis for Record Store Day.
Prince became an international sensation in the 1980s, when he popularized the Minneapolis sound of danceable funk. His 1984 album “Purple Rain” is often described as one of the greatest of all time.
The artist, who was born as Prince Nelson, lived in the outskirts of Minneapolis, where he threw parties and preserved master vaults at his Paisley Park studio.
Prince in the 1990s changed his name to an unpronounceable “love symbol” and wrote “slave” on his cheek to protest contractual conditions by his label Warner.
Among his best-known songs are “Purple Rain,” “1999,” “When Doves Cry,” “Cream” and “Kiss.”
He was recently prolific in his output, releasing albums through streaming site Tidal, and has taken to scheduling shows at the last minute to avoid scalpers.
Tributes poured in
Fellow musicians and other celebrities led an immediate outpouring of tributes and expressions of shock.
“RIP our dearly beloved Prince. Tears and love on our tour bus… I’ll never forget my brother. We’ve had good times,” American musician, producer, and guitarist Nile Rodgers tweeted.
“And just like that…the world lost a lot of magic,” pop diva Katy Perry said.
“Devastated to hear the news about Prince. An enormous talent that we were all big fans of,” the official account of British pop group Duran Duran posted.
“I Miss My Brother. Prince Was A Funny Cat. Great Sense Of Humor,” director Spike Lee tweeted.
Recording Academy president Neil Portnow mourned the seven-time Grammy winner, calling him “one of the most uniquely gifted artists of all time.”
“Never one to conform, he redefined and forever changed our musical landscape. Prince was an original who influenced so many, and his legacy will live on forever,” he said in a statement.