The children of Prince‘s longtime bodyguard are opening up to PEOPLE about how the private star became part of their family.
After moving to Minnesota in 1982 so that Charles ‘Big Chick’ Huntsberry could be closer to Prince for work, Huntsberry’s children (he and wife Linda had five daughters and a son) grew close to the 7-time Grammy winner.
“The fact that he died alone is horrible,” daughter Brigitte Huntsberry tells PEOPLE. “We still can’t believe it. It seems like a nightmare. It’s heartbreaking and we are all so upset. He was and is a huge part of our lives, he was truly our brother.”
As children, Prince spent a lot of time with the family and would come to Fourth of July cookouts at the Huntsberry’s home, where he played volleyball in his signature high heels.
“A lot of times at school [Prince and our dad] would pick us up in his tour bus or limo,” recalls eldest daughter Tina Khan, who was one of Prince’s personal assistant in the 80’s. “He would step out and be like ‘I’m picking my girls up.’ ”
For their birthdays, Prince would always get them a dozen roses and candy.
“He had the biggest sweet tooth ever,” recalls Huntsberry’s son Chuck.
Chuck tells PEOPLE he still owns the singer’s first motorcycle, “Dad taught him how to ride it.”
And Prince was a big fan of his bodyguard’s wife’s home cooking.
“He loved mom’s spaghetti and meatballs and the chocolate chip cake was a big one,” says daughter Rebecca. “He’d call and say ‘Linda can you make me a chocolate chip cake?’ And she would say, ‘Well sure, honey.'”
Huntsberry’s children were also some of the very first to hear his greatest hits.
“He would test out songs for us when we were teenagers and let us listen before they were released,” says Rebecca. “We listened to Purple Rain while it was still being worked on and written. We thought it was so magical. I still remember listening to it for the first time and just thinking that I was listening to a piece of art come to life.”