Musical artist Prince has reportedly died at the age of 57.
TMZ reports his body was discovered on his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota Thursday morning.
The iconic singer had some medical complications, reportedly a bout of the flu, earlier this week, and his plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Illinois. The next day he performed his concert and told fans he was fine.
Prince is known for his revolutionary and innovative music in soul, funk, hip-hop and more. His legacy will be remembered in music history forever.
“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 at the age of 57,” his rep told Los Angeles TV station KTLA.
“Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson reports that on April 21st, 2016, at about 9:43 am, sheriff’s deputies responded to a medical call at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a statement. “When deputies and medical personnel arrived, they found an unresponsive adult male in the elevator. First responders attempted to provide lifesaving CPR, but were unable to revive the victim. He was pronounced deceased at 10:07 am.
“The Carver County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office, are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death.” Star Tribune reports that the medical examiner has scheduled an autopsy for Friday.
He’d canceled some dates of his “Piano and a Microphone” tour in early April because of the flu, TMZ previously reported. A week ago, the singer was hospitalized after his private plane made an emergency landing after a show in Moline, Illinois. Varying reports said he was suffering dehydration and was getting over the flu. He was released after three hours and flew to Minneapolis, where he was recovering at home.
Over the course of nearly four decades, Prince became an icon of artistry and individuality. Few musicians defined and redefined pop, rock, R&B, funk, soul and nearly every other musical genre imaginable like Prince, who issued his debut album in 1978.
He embraced controversy, presenting himself as an androgynous sexaholic in his album art and lyrics, and challenged conservative music ideals in his first decade on albums like 1999, Purple Rain and Sign ‘O’ the Times.
A singular force, he famously performed, produced and wrote nearly all of his own songs at the beginning of his career and would go on to build a music empire out of his home near Minneapolis as he expanded his musical vocabulary. Four of his albums topped the Billboard 200, and the RIAA awarded 20 of his LPs with gold, platinum and multiplatinum plaques.
At the peak of his career in the early Eighties, Prince embraced acting. He starred in the 1984 blockbuster Purple Rain and would go on to appear in 1986’s Under the Cherry Moon and 1990’s Graffiti Bridge, the latter two of which he also directed. Additionally, he wrote the screenplay for Graffiti Bridge.
He was also an iconoclast. He went against the grain of the music industry, renaming himself an unpronounceable symbol at a time when he was protesting his record contract and refusing to bow to emerging formats like online music streaming. He distributed albums to concertgoers along with their tickets when that was a novel concept, and he planned other tours at the spur of the moment, dubbing them “hit and run” shows.
Prince won several awards for his music in his lifetime. His first major trophy was a Grammy for his Purple Rain album in 1984; that same year, he also won a Grammy for writing “I Feel for You,” which Chaka Khan had made a hit. The next year, he took home an Oscar for the Purple Rain score in 1985. The following year he earned another Grammy for “Kiss,” and won two more in 2004 for the songs “Musicology” and “Call My Name,” both of his 2004 album Musicology. In 2007, he earned another for “Future Baby Mama,” off his Planet Earth LP. He won several MTV Music Video Awards dating back to the mid Eighties and he won a Golden Globe for “The Song of the Heart,” which appeared in Happy Feet.
Prince was born Prince Rogers Nelson on June 7th, 1958 in Minneapolis. His father, John Nelson, was the leader of a jazz band in the area, and his mother, Mattie, was a vocalist for the ensemble. “I named my son Prince because I wanted him to do everything I wanted to do,” his father once said. An autodidact, Prince began playing piano at age seven, guitar at 13 and drums the next year.
He joined a band called Grand Central, which eventually changed its name to Champagne, when he was 14. At age 18, he made a demo tape with an engineer named Chris Moon. When local businessman Owen Husney heard the tape in 1978, he helped negotiate Prince’s first recording contract, with Warner Bros. Records, which granted him unprecedented autonomy for a new signing, let alone an artist his age.
That same year, Prince earned his first hit, the lubriciously titled “Soft and Wet,” a song that would appear on his first album, that year’s For You. The single stalled at Number 92 on the Top 100 but reached Number 12 on the R&B chart. He flirted even more with overtly erotic innuendoes on his 1979 single “I Wanna Be Your Lover” (sample lyric: “I wanna be the only one that makes you come [dramatic pause] running!”), which would become his breakthrough song. The track, which appeared on his self-titled sophomore LP, reached Number 11 on the Top 200 and topped the R&B chart. The album was home to a couple of other genre hits, including “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” and “Sexy Dancer,” and it established him as a hit maker.