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Wednesday 26 October 2016

Pop superstar Prince dies aged 57

Published 21/04/2016 | 19:26

Prince performs at the Brit Awards 2006
Prince performs at the Brit Awards 2006

American pop superstar Prince has died at the age of 57.

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He was found dead at his home in Chanhassen in suburban Minneapolis on Thursday, hi s publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, told the Associated Press.

The singer, songwriter, arranger and instrumentalist was widely acclaimed as one of the most inventive musicians of his era, drawing upon influences ranging from James Brown to the Beatles to Jimi Hendrix. His hits included Little Red Corvette, Let's Go Crazy and When Doves Cry.

The Minneapolis native broke through in the late 1970s with the hits Wanna Be Your Lover and soared over the following decade with such albums as 1999 and Purple Rain.

The title song from 1999 includes one of the most widely quoted refrains of popular culture: "Tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999."

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."

A small group of fans quickly gathered outside the star's music studio, Paisley Park, a white building surrounded by a fence about 20 miles (32km) south-west of Minneapolis.

A Carver County sheriff's squad car was parked in the studio car park.

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