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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Shock as Prince of Pop is found dead at just 57

Prince with former wife Manuela Testolini arrive at the 77th Annual Academy Awards in 2005 in Hollywood, California. Photo: Carlo Allegri/Getty Images
Prince with former wife Manuela Testolini arrive at the 77th Annual Academy Awards in 2005 in Hollywood, California. Photo: Carlo Allegri/Getty Images
Prince performs in concert during his Purple Rain Tour. Prince's publicist has confirmed that Prince died at his his home in Minnesota, Thursday, April 21, 2016. He was 57.

Pop superstar and musical virtuoso Prince has been found dead in a lift in his home.

It comes after the multi-instrumentalist and prolific hitmaker was taken to hospital last week when the plane he was travelling in had to be diverted so he could receive medical care.

After being released from hospital, a spokesperson for Prince, whose real name was Prince Rogers Nelson (57), said that he had been suffering from the flu, was feeling much better and was resting at home.

The next day, he appeared at a show to assure fans he was alright. "Wait a few days before you waste any prayers," he said.

But it was reported in recent days that he had been seen making trips to his local pharmacy.

His body was discovered in a lift at his Paisley Park home in Minneapolis at 10.07am local time, his publicist confirmed.

Police who arrived on the scene performed CPR, but he could not be revived.

Carver County Sheriff's Office confirmed it was investigating the death. However, foul play is not suspected.

Audio of the emergency services dispatch call obtained by celebrity news website TMZ revealed calls for paramedics to go to 7801 Audobon Road and describes a "male down, not breathing".

Maverick

Television pictures from the scene showed fans gathering across the road from his home in the rain, with a number of dark-coloured cars parked inside the Paisley Park compound.

Tributes have been flooding in for the music maverick as his death reverberated around the world.

US President Barack Obama said the world had lost a "creative icon".

"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.

"'A strong spirit transcends rules,' Prince once said," Obama added. "And nobody's spirit was stronger, bolder or more creative. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his band and all who loved him."

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."

Chaka Khan posted a picture of herself with Prince on Twitter, adding: "I LOVED him, the world LOVED him. Now he's at peace with his Father. Rest in power, @prince, my brother."

Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood wrote: "I will miss a good friend who was so talented. He was such a great performer/guitar player. Sleep well, Prince."

Music producer Quincy Jones tweeted: "RIP to @prince ... a true artist in every sense of the word. Gone way too soon."

Film director Spike Lee wrote on Instagram: "I miss my brother. Prince was a funny cat. Great sense of humour."

Model Iman, who lost her husband David Bowie earlier this year, wrote: "So sad to hear of Prince's passing; one of the greatest musical talents of my lifetime. Maybe of the 20th century. RIP."

The Rev Jesse Jackson praised Prince for fighting for the freedom of artists and for himself, calling him "a transformer".

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.

He became even more famous with the release of the hit movie 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, a backing band - which he named The Revolution.

His music career spanned five 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 diminutive 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 '90s.

He was 50 pages into writing an untitled autobiography, which was due to be published in 2017.

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

Slave

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, who he divorced in 2006.

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

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