(CN) – Prince, the music icon who soared to the top of the charts in the 1980s with such albums as “1999” and “Purple Rain,” died Thursday in Minneapolis.
The Carver County Sheriff’ Office tweeted shortly after 1 p.m. that it was investigating the death of an unidentified middle-aged man at Paisley Park, where Prince had his recording studios.
Minutes later, Yvette Noel-Schure, a publicist for the singer, confirmed his death. Prince, whose full name is Prince Rogers Nelson, was 57.
According to Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson, deputies responded to a medical call at about 9:38 a.m. Thursday and found the recording artist unresponsive in an elevator. The deputies performed CPR, but could not revive him and he was declared dead at 10:07 a.m.
Over the course of his amazing career, Prince released 39 albums, won seven Grammys and was one of the first music video stars after the advent of MTV.
Although no cause of death has been announced, he had been hospitalized in Illinois on Friday on his way home from a concert in Atlanta. At the time it was reported that he had been treated for the flu.
News reports say he hosted a dance party at Paisley Park on Saturday, but did not perform.
Just 5 feet 2 inches tall, Prince became a big presence in the music industry in the late 1970s, and by the beginning of the next decade his stature was such that he was challenging even Michael Jackson in popularity. In fact, because he was sexually provocative and given to instrumental pyrotechnics, many tried to cast his as his generation’s Rolling Stones to Jackson’s Beatles.
But Prince was fiercely protective of his independence and his image, and rejected being pigeon-holed. He also frequently rejected input from his record company, and once appeared with the word “slave” written across his forehead to protest not owning the rights to his work.
That didn’t stop him from producing a string of massive hits, including “Little Red Corvette,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” and “When Dove’s Cry,” the latter song a ubiquitous presence on radio during the summer of 1984, the year the album on which it was featured, “Purple Rain,” sold 13 million copies.
Prince made his motion picture acting debut in the movie “Purple Rain” the same year. It won an Academy Award for best original song score.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. In its dedication, the rock hall hailed him as a trailblazer who “rewrote the rulebook, forging a synthesis of black funk and white rock that served as a blueprint for cutting-edge music in the Eighties.”
The investigation into his death is ongoing.
– developing story.
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