Prince, iconic singer-songwriter, has died
He was found unresponsive in an elevator about 9:45 a.m. on Thursday after sheriff’s deputies received a call for medical help from his Paisley Park Studios home outside Minneapolis. He was pronounced dead less than 25 minutes later, authorities in Minnesota say. A cause of death has not been determined.
Prince had been battling the flu for several weeks and his private plane made an emergency landing early Friday morning to rush the singer to the hospital, his rep confirmed to PEOPLE at the time.
According to official Twitter of Midwest Medical Exam medical examiners have received Prince’s body and plan to perform an autopsy on Friday.
The singer had performed at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta the night before. Audience members tell PEOPLE that his final song during the emotional and “incredible” show was “Purple Rain.”
“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 publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, said in a statement provided to CBS. “There are no further details as to the cause of death at this time.”
“MTV is heartbroken and in utter disbelief at the news that the world has lost Prince Rogers Nelson so suddenly and so before his time,” the network – on which Prince dominated the late ’80s video lineup – said in a statement to PEOPLE. “Prince was a once-in-a-lifetime artist who transcended every medium and genre he touched and created music with a passion and individuality that inspired multiple generations. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family, friends and millions of fans.”
The Minneapolis native was born on June 7, 1958, to parents who encouraged music from the very start. His mother was a jazz singer, while his father was a pianist and songwriter who performed under the stage name Prince Rogers. Legend has it that the precocious boy wrote his very first song, “Funk Machine,” at age 7.
But he was also a sickly child, revealing on PBS’ Tavis Smiley in 2009 that he was born an epileptic.
“I used to have seizures when I was young. My mother and father didn’t know what to do or how to handle it but they did the best they could with what little they had,” he said at the time.
However, he said his mother recalled that as a child he told her he was healed through divine intervention.
“My mother told me one day I walked in to her and said, ‘Mom, I’m not going to be sick anymore,’ and she said ‘Why?’ and I said ‘Because an angel told me so.’ Now, I don’t remember saying it, that’s just what she told me.”
Bursting onto the scene in the late 1970s, Prince released his first album, For You, in 1978, before moving up the charts with his 1979 self-titled album, which featured the hit single “I Wanna Be Your Lover.”
His sixth studio album, Purple Rain, introduced The Revolution band, and spawned singles “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy,” as well as the similarly named 1984 art film, which nabbed an Academy Award for Best Original Score.
Famously changing his stage name in 1993 to the “love symbol” after a copyright battle – a professional moniker he kept until 2000 – Prince was known for his over-the-top style and lavish showmanship. The star was a master of many musical instruments, often performing live on the guitar, piano, drums and various percussion instruments. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
Releasing a total of 39 studio albums before his death, Prince’s final two albums – HITnRUN Phase One and Two – were released in fall 2015.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.