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Prince dies at age 57

Prince, the innovative music superstar whose hits included “Purple Rain” and “When Doves Cry” and whose songwriting and eccentric stage presence electrified fans around the world, died on April 21 in Minnesota, his publicist said. He was 57.

“It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died,” said publicist Anna Meacham.

Prince was found dead at his home at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, a Minneapolis suburb, the Carver County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter. The office said it was “investigating the circumstances of his death.”

The local medical examiner declined to comment on the cause of Prince’s death, which was first reported by celebrity website TMZ.

Shocked fans gathered with media crews outside Paisley Park Studios’ gates to mourn the award-winning singer and musician, whose genre-defying music combined jazz, funk and disco, and influenced other musicians. His hit songs also included “Raspberry Beret,” “Little Red Corvette” and “Kiss.”

Prince, who was on a U.S. tour last week, was briefly hospitalized with the flu after his plane made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois, last week, TMZ reported. A representative told TMZ that Prince had performed in Atlanta even though he was not feeling well and felt worse after boarding the plane for a flight back to Minnesota.

Prince first found fame in the late 1970s, and over the next three decades became known as one of the most inventive and eccentric forces in American pop music.

Often making a statement with bold fashion choices, the diminutive star sometimes appeared on stage sporting ruffled shirts and tight pants or elaborate costumes, including chain mail covering his face, a shimmery orange tunic or bikini briefs.

Prince was regarded as a perfectionist who from 1993 to 2000 changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol in what was seen as a protest against his record label at the time.

For a while, he was dubbed “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.”

‘PRIVATE PERSON’

An intensely private person, Prince sold more than 100 million records during his career, won seven Grammy awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

His most recent album, “HITnRUN: Phase Two” was released in December 2015.

Prince became a Jehovah’s Witness about 15 years ago, and was a strict vegan. In 2009, he spoke in a PBS television interview about being born an epileptic and suffering seizures as a child.

He said he was also teased in school, and that “early in my career I tried to compensate by being as flashy as I could and as noisy as I could.”

Prince won an Oscar for best original song score for “Purple Rain,” the 1984 movie whose music was based on his album of the same name. He also starred in the movie.

In 2007, he played the Super Bowl in one of the most celebrated such performances.

While he was more accustomed to performing to arena audiences, two years ago Prince played perhaps his most intimate gig in the living room of British singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas’ London home with his band, 3rdeyegirl, Billboard said.

“We’ll work our way up, if people like us, to bigger venues,” Prince quipped at the time.

‘EXPLOSIVE PERFORMANCES’

Born in Minneapolis as Prince Rogers Nelson on June 7, 1958, he is said to have written his first song at the age of 7. As well as singing and writing, he played multiple instruments, including guitar, keyboards and drums.

His music was marked by sexually charged lyrics and explosive live performances, while his private life was marked by a string of romances linking him with the likes of Madonna and actress Kim Basinger and Carmen Electra.

Prince was married twice: to his backup singer, Mayte Garcia, in 1996 and then to Manuela Testolini in 2001. Both marriages ended in divorce, and a son he had with Garcia died a week after birth in October 1996.

Music TV channel MTV said it was changing its logo to purple for the day in honor of Prince. Twitter lit up with reaction from dismayed friends and fans.

“And just like that … the world lost a lot of magic ✨ Rest in peace Prince! Thanks for giving us so much,” tweeted pop star Katy Perry.

Film director Spike Lee said on Twitter: “I Miss My Brother. Prince Was A Funny Cat. Great Sense Of Humor.”

“This is what it sounds like when doves cry.. Prince R.I.P.,” tweeted actress and TV personality Whoopi Goldberg.

Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles, and Frank McGurty, Amy Tennery and Gina Cherelus in New York; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Franklin Paul and Jonathan Oatis.

Musician Prince gestures on stage during the Apollo Theatre's 75th anniversary gala in New York, June 8, 2009. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files
Musician Prince gestures on stage during the Apollo Theatre’s 75th anniversary gala in New York, June 8, 2009. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files
U.S. singer Prince watches the French Open tennis tournament in Paris June 2, 2014. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier/Files
U.S. singer Prince watches the French Open tennis tournament in Paris June 2, 2014. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier/Files
U.S. singer Prince leaves the French Open tennis tournament in Paris June 2, 2014. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier/Files
U.S. singer Prince leaves the French Open tennis tournament in Paris June 2, 2014. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier/Files
U.S. musician Prince performs on stage at Yas Arena in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi November 14, 2010. REUTERS/Jumana El-Heloueh
U.S. musician Prince performs on stage at Yas Arena in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi November 14, 2010. REUTERS/Jumana El-Heloueh
U.S. musician Prince performs for the first time in Britain since 2007 at the Hop Farm Festival near Paddock Wood, southern England July 3, 2011. REUTERS/Olivia Harris
U.S. musician Prince performs for the first time in Britain since 2007 at the Hop Farm Festival near Paddock Wood, southern England July 3, 2011. REUTERS/Olivia Harris
Prince performs during the halftime show of the NFL's Super Bowl XLI football game between the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts in Miami, Florida, February 4, 2007. REUTERS/Kyle Carter/Files
Prince performs during the halftime show of the NFL’s Super Bowl XLI football game between the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts in Miami, Florida, February 4, 2007. REUTERS/Kyle Carter/Files
Prince performs during the halftime show of the NFL's Super Bowl XLI football game between the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts in Miami, Florida, February 4, 2007. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Mike Blake/Files
Prince performs during the halftime show of the NFL’s Super Bowl XLI football game between the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts in Miami, Florida, February 4, 2007. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Mike Blake/Files
Prince performs during the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada May 19, 2013. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Steve Marcus
Prince performs during the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada May 19, 2013. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Steve Marcus
Prince performs on the main stage during Budapest's Sziget music festival on an island in the Danube River August 9, 2011. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh
Prince performs on the main stage during Budapest’s Sziget music festival on an island in the Danube River August 9, 2011. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh
Prince attends the NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics at Staples Center in Los Angeles December 25, 2008. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Prince attends the NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics at Staples Center in Los Angeles December 25, 2008. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Jorge Drexler greets Prince after winning best original song for "Al Otro Lado Del Rio" at the 77th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, February 27, 2005. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Gary Hershorn
Jorge Drexler greets Prince after winning best original song for “Al Otro Lado Del Rio” at the 77th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, February 27, 2005. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Gary Hershorn
Prince and wife Manuela Testolini arrive at the 77th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, February 27, 2005. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Mike Blake MM
Prince and wife Manuela Testolini arrive at the 77th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, February 27, 2005. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Mike Blake MM
"The Artist" formerly known as Prince gives his acceptance speech after being named Male Artist of the Decade at the 14th annual Soul Train Music Awards March 4, 2000. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Gary Hershorn
“The Artist” formerly known as Prince gives his acceptance speech after being named Male Artist of the Decade at the 14th annual Soul Train Music Awards March 4, 2000. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Gary Hershorn
Prince performs during the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada May 19, 2013. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Steve Marcus
Prince performs during the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada May 19, 2013. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Steve Marcus
Prince performs during the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada May 19, 2013. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Steve Marcus
Prince performs during the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada May 19, 2013. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Steve Marcus