CHANHASSEN, Minn.— Pop superstar Prince, widely acclaimed as one of the most inventive musicians of his era with hits including Little Red Corvette, Let’s Go Crazy and When Doves Cry, was found dead at his home on Thursday in suburban Minneapolis, according to his publicist.
His publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, told The Associated Press that the music icon died at his home in Chanhassen. No details were immediately released.
The man born Prince Rogers Nelson stood just 5 feet, 2 inches 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: “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 of 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,” Prince 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 Thursday outside his music studio, Paisley Park, a white building surrounded by a fence about 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis. A Carver County sheriff’s squad car was parking in the studio lot.
NEKESA MUMBI MOODY, Associated Press
HILLEL ITALIE, Associated Press
JEFF BAENEN, Associated Press
Moody and Italie reported from New York.