Prince's Sister Tyka Nelson Breaks Down Honoring Late Icon at AMAs: 'He Had the Courage to Be Different'

"He wanted to be known as the world's most prolific songwriter. And with 984 titles to his credit and counting, he has done just that," Nelson said in her emotional speech

Tyka Nelson
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty

Tyka Nelson took the stage Sunday night with a poignant message for her late brother Prince: “Nothing Compares 2 U.”

“Prince defied the odds,” the icon’s sister said in emotional speech at the 2016 AMAs in Los Angeles. “A black teen from Minneapolis with a goal to electrify the world, he had the courage to be different. With his vision [and] God-given talent, he is still one of the world’s most respected and loved artists.”

Nelson, 56, accepted Prince’s posthumous Top Album trophy for his 1984 smash Purple Rain, breaking down as she honored the music legend who died in April.

“What he told me was that he wanted to be known as the world’s most prolific songwriter. And with 984 titles to his credit and counting, he has done just that,” she continued. “In the words of Prince: ‘With love, honor and respect for every living thing in the universe, separation ceases, and we all become one being, singing one song.'”

Nelson, a former singer herself, broke down as she ended her oration, saying that she and her half-siblings — Sharon Nelson, Norrine Nelson, John R. Nelson, Alfred Jackson and Omarr Baker — will cherish the award.

“On behalf of Prince — our wonderful friend, teacher and brother — I humbly accept this award,” she said. “We … will keep this for you at Paisley Park, until we see you again. This is for you.”

Prince was 57 when he was found dead in an elevator at his Paisley Park compound outside Minneapolis on April 21. In June, it was revealed he died of an accidental overdose of the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

His American Music Awards win — for which he beat out Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Suicide Squad: The Album — comes just three days before the first greatest hits collection since his death will drop: 4Ever, a 40-song collection that includes “Moonbeam Levels,” a previously unreleased track from his 1999 studio sessions. Additionally, next year, Warner Bros. Records plans to release a deluxe edition of Purple Rain that will include more previously unheard tracks.

With his death, Prince left behind an estimated $250 million estate. Despite claims made my alleged heirs from around the country, last month, a Minnesota judge ruled that Nelson and her five half-siblings are the only heirs to his fortune.

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