LOS ANGELES: Prince, whose pioneering brand of danceable funk and virtuoso talents made him one of the most influential figures in music, died Thursday (Friday in Manila) at his secluded compound in Minnesota, aged 57.
It comes just a week after the enigmatic Grammy and Oscar winner—acclaimed for his guitar skills and soaring falsetto—was taken to hospital with a flu-like illness which he later made light of.
“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,” said his spokeswoman, Yvette Noel-Schure.
The Carver County sheriff’s office in Minnesota said that deputies responding to an emergency call found an “unresponsive” Prince in an elevator.
Attempts to resuscitate him failed and he was pronounced dead at 10:07 am (1507 GMT), it said, adding that an investigation had been launched.
The sheriff’s office released a transcript of a 911 call from an unidentified man at the property who was asked if he was with the patient. “Yes — it’s Prince,” he replies.
The cause of death remains unclear, although entertainment website TMZ said the musician had been treated for a drug overdose in the week before his death, citing multiple unnamed sources.
He was taken to a hospital after his private jet made an unscheduled landing in Moline, Illinois last Friday following a gig in Atlanta, amid previous reports that he had been battling flu.
“Multiple sources in Moline tell us Prince was rushed to a hospital and doctors gave him a ‘save shot’ . . . typically administered to counteract the effects of an opiate,” TMZ said.
AFP could not immediately verify the report.
News of his sudden death prompted a flood of tributes from the worlds of entertainment and politics, from Barack Obama to Madonna and Mick Jagger, as well as ordinary fans—and even a tweet from NASA of a purple nebula, in Prince’s signature color.