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Prince dies aged 57 - police launch probe after star's collapse in lift in Minnesota home

Tributes as Purple Rain singer passes away at home

Prince has died at the age of 57 after being found collapsed in a lift at his home in Minnesota.

Medical staff tried to revive the star, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, said Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson, who said the death is being investigated.

The singer, whose real name was Prince Rogers Nelson, was taken ill on April 15 while flying home from a show in Atlanta, Georgia.

His private jet made an emergency landing in Molina, Illinois, and the Purple Rain singer was taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance, where he was treated and released hours later.

At the time a representative for Prince assured fans he was feeling much better and was resting at his Paisley Park home.

But less than a week later paramedics were called to 7801 Audobon Road.

His British publicist later said: "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. There are no further details as to the cause of death at this time."

Fans quickly gathered outside his home and tributes flooded in for the music maverick, including a touching message from American President Barack Obama, ahead of his arrival in the United Kingdom. Mr Obama said the world had lost a "creative icon".

He added: "Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly, or touched quite so many people with their talent.

"As one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time, Prince did it all."

Chic frontman Nile Rodgers also remembered the star, tweeting: "RIP our dearly beloved Prince. Tears and love on our tour bus ... I'll never forget my brother. We've had good times."

Madonna, who collaborated with Prince on Love Song on her album Like A Prayer, posted a picture of the two of them together on Instagram, writing: "He Changed The World!! A True Visionary. What a loss. I'm Devastated."

The star was widely regarded as one of the most inventive musicians of his era. He became an international superstar in 1982 after his breakthrough album 1999 and was most famous for hits including Purple Rain, When Doves Cry and Kiss.

The singer, who was just 5ft 2in tall, was also seen as an eccentric with a tendency towards bizarre career moves, such as changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol in the 1990s. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

One of the most inventive musicians of his era

The star was widely regarded as one of the most inventive musicians of his era and many of his songs are seen as classics.

He became an international superstar in 1982 after his breakthrough album 1999 and was most famous for hits including Purple Rain, When Doves Cry and Kiss.

His music career spanned more than three decades and he won seven Grammy Awards, sold more than 100 million records and won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score for Purple Rain.

The singer, who was just 5ft 2in, was also seen as an eccentric with a tendency towards bizarre career moves, such as changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol in the 1990s.

He was in the process of writing an untitled autobiography which was due to be published in 2017.

He became even more famous with the release of the film Purple Rain in 1984, a seemingly autobiographical movie set in the club scene in his home town of Minneapolis.

It was a huge success and the soundtrack album spent 24 weeks at the top of the charts and sold more than 13 million copies.

It was the first time in his career that Prince had recorded with, and credited, his backing band, which he named the Revolution.

He was fiercely protective of his independence, battling his record company over control of his material and even his name.

Prince once wrote "slave" on his face in protest at not owning his work and famously battled with and then departed from his label, Warner Bros, before returning a few years ago.

He was married twice, the first time to his backing dancer Mayte Garcia, from whom he split in 2000, and then Manuela Testolini, whom he divorced in 2006.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, where he was hailed as a trailblazer.

The dedication reads: "He rewrote the rulebook, forging a synthesis of black funk and white rock that served as a blueprint for cutting-edge music in the Eighties.

"Prince made dance music that rocked and rock music that had a bristling, funky backbone. From the beginning, Prince and his music were androgynous, sly, sexy and provocative."

He captured the imagination of Londoners when he played 21 nights at the O2 Arena in the summer of 2007.

On his last night he declared: "Everything's changed this summer. It doesn't matter who came before or who comes after. From now on, the O2 is Prince's house."

He played a total of 504 songs to audiences of half a million.

The last time he played in the UK was in October 2002, when he opened with a 12-minute jazz song, and berated fans who had come expecting Purple Rain.

At the O2 all that changed and he opened with his biggest hit.

Rebecca Burton-Kane, VIP and general manager at the O2, said Prince broke records when he played at the venue and his residency is a big part of its history.

She said: "We are all shocked and deeply saddened to hear the news that Prince has died.

"His record-breaking 21-night run in 2007 has made him synonymous with the venue. He set the standard for all the other artists who have performed at the O2 since. A true artist and musical genius, RIP."

Prince returned to the UK again in 2014 to play smaller venues with his new three-piece band of female rockers 3rdeyegirl.

Prince Rogers Nelson

The man who was born Prince Rogers Nelson stood just 5ft 2in and seemed to summon the most original and compelling sounds at will, whether playing guitar in a flamboyant style that openly drew upon Jimi Hendrix, switching his vocals from a nasally scream to an erotic falsetto or turning out album after album of stunningly original material.

Among his other notable releases were Sign O' The Times, Graffiti Bridge and The Black Album.

He was also fiercely protective of his independence, battling his record company over control of his material and even his name. Prince once wrote "slave" on his face in protest at not owning his work and famously battled and then departed his label, Warner Bros, before returning a few years ago.

"What's happening now is the position that I've always wanted to be in," he told The Associated Press in 2014. "I was just trying to get here."

In 2004, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame, which hailed him as a musical and social trailblazer.

"He rewrote the rulebook, forging a synthesis of black funk and white rock that served as a blueprint for cutting-edge music in the Eighties," reads the Hall's dedication.

"Prince made dance music that rocked and rock music that had a bristling, funky backbone. From the beginning, Prince and his music were androgynous, sly, sexy and provocative."

Creative genius who topped the charts

Prince was one of the biggest artists of the 1980s and 1990s and has influenced the pop scene since with his creative genius.

He was prolific in writing hits fusing a unique mix of rock, soul, RnB, soul and funk, and was a talented multi-instrumentalist.

Here are some of his biggest singles in the UK.

His first British top 10 When Doves Cry in 1984, was named the song of the summer by Billboard magazine in the US and sold two million copies over there. It reached number four here.

Purple Rain, title track from the cult film, reached number eight that year, followed in 1985 by a successful reissue of the impossibly catchy 1999, and Little Red Corvette on double a-side. It peaked at number two in the UK.

The upbeat party celebration Let's Go Crazy reached number seven that year, continuing his run of chart hits.

Kiss the following year reached number six, which went on to be successfully covered by Sir Tom Jones.

In 1988 his funk work out Alphabet Street charted at number nine, followed in 1989 by Batdance, from the Batman blockbuster, which reached number two.

His run of hits continued into the 1990s, with the James Brown influenced Gett Off reaching number four in 1991.

Sexy MF, with its eye-popping, explicit lyrics reached number four the next year, when My Name is Prince reached number seven.

His only number one came in 1994, when he had dropped the Prince title and chose to rename himself as a symbol, with his ballad The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.

He had already written the heartbreaking 1990 chart topper Nothin Compares 2 U, sung by Sinead O'Connor. It was a worldwide smash and was the third biggest single of the year.

He recorded 15 UK top 10s and 38 top 40s.

Tributes

Minneapolis radio station The Current is streaming nothing but Prince in tribute to the star. You can listen here. Meanwhile the world of showbusiness has been paying its respects to Prince on Twitter.


















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