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Legendary Musician Prince Dies at 57

  • VOA News

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

The shocking news was confirmed by the artist's publicist after reports that police were investigating a death at his home outside the northern city of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Sheriff's officials in Minnesota say deputies found music superstar Prince unresponsive in an elevator after they were summoned to his suburban compound. He was pronounced dead after their attempts to revive him failed.

"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 at the age of 57," publicist Yvette Noel-Schure said Thursday. "There are no further details as to the cause of death at this time."

Prince was hospitalized last week. His private plane reportedly made an emergency landing in Illinois following concerts in Georgia. No details were released at the time regarding his health.

Watch video report from VOA's Zlatica Hoke:

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​Prince was just 19 when he released his first album, For You, in 1978. In the decades that followed, the multi-talented musician released "1999," "Little Red Corvette" and "Purple Rain," the title track of his breakthrough 1984 album and movie.

He sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, won seven Grammys and picked up an Oscar for Best Original Song score for “Purple Rain."

Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

"He rewrote the rulebook, forging a synthesis of black funk and white rock that served as a blueprint for cutting-edge music in the ‘80s," said a posting on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website. "Prince made dance music that rocked and rock music that had a bristling, funky backbone."

Musicians, artists and fans took to Twitter to express their shock and sadness at the news of Prince's death.

U.S. President Barack Obama lamented that the "world lost a creative icon."

He said in a statement, "As one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time, Prince did it all. Funk. R&B. Rock and roll. He was a virtuoso instrumentalist, a brilliant bandleader, and an electrifying performer."

"Numb. Stunned. This can't be real," pop star Justin Timberlake wrote.

"And just like that ... the world lost a lot of magic. Rest in peace, Prince! Thanks for giving us so much ..." said Katy Perry.

Filmmaker Spike Lee posted a photo on Instagram and wrote, "I miss my brother."

Rapper MC Hammer wrote, "I loved this man. Too soon. Can't comprehend it but it's unfortunately true. Heaven is yours. RIP #Prince #RIPPrince."

"The greatest live act I ever saw. Genius, poet, sexy [expletive]. RIP Prince," mourned actor Russell Crowe.

"Today is the worst day ever. Prince, R.I.P., I am crying!" said singer Boy George.

WATCH: Storify how celebrities, fan reacted on Twitter

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Television footage showed a small group of fans gathering outside Prince’s Paisley Park studio.

Sales of Prince's music have soared since news broke of the pop star's death.

Three of his songs "Purple Rain,'' "Little Red Corvette,'' and "When Doves Cry,'' surged to seventh, ninth and 10th on iTunes' Top Songs chart.

Four of his albums — The Very Best of Prince, Purple Rain, The Hits / The B-Sides and 1999 — had jumped to first, second, third and eighth on iTunes' Top Albums chart by Thursday afternoon.

Who was Prince?

Born: Prince Rogers Nelson, named after Prince Roger Trio, a jazz band his father performed with

When: June 7, 1958

Where: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Died: April 21, at his home in Paisley Park, a Minneapolis suburb

Aliases: Briefly used others names, including an unpronounceable symbol O(+>, which led to him often being referred to as "the artist formerly known as Prince"

Debut album: For You, 1978

Several hit albums and songs, including: albums 1999 and Purple Rain, which was later made into a movie, Sign O' the Times, The Black Album; songs Little Red Corvette, Kiss, Raspberry Beret, Emancipation and When Doves Cry

Career: Sold more than 100 million records, won seven Grammy awards, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, performed during 2007 Super Bowl XLI halftime show

Known for: His songs and albums often created controversy for their sexually charged lyrics

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