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Friends, Family Say Farewell to Prince in Private Ceremony

  • VOA News

FILE - Prince performs during the halftime show at Super Bowl XLI at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Feb. 4, 2007.

FILE - Prince performs during the halftime show at Super Bowl XLI at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Feb. 4, 2007.

Close friends and family said goodbye Saturday to American pop music icon Prince in small, private ceremony.

The musician's publicist released a statement saying the memorial ceremony took place after the singer's body was cremated. The statement did not say where the gathering took place, but fans who have been camped out at Prince's home and studio complex outside the northern city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, reported seeing former bandmates and friends of the superstar filing inside. The publicist said the "final storage" of Prince's remains would remain private.

Medical examiners are still looking into what killed the 57-year-old musician, who was found dead alone at home on Thursday. Police said there were no signs of trauma on his body and no reason to suspect suicide.

Jennifer Gordon holds a fabric dove at the base of balloons as she pays tribute to musician Prince at a makeshift memorial outside the fence of Paisley Park, his home and recording studio, in suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 22, 2016.

Jennifer Gordon holds a fabric dove at the base of balloons as she pays tribute to musician Prince at a makeshift memorial outside the fence of Paisley Park, his home and recording studio, in suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 22, 2016.

Prince's unexpected passing shocked millions of fans. Since then, tributes for the artist have poured in from around the world, with cities casting their own tributes in purple lights, the artist's favorite color. The Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower were among the sites that received the purple treatment.

"Purple Rain," the 1984 feature film starring the legendary musician, returned to U.S. movie theaters Saturday. The cast of Broadway's "The Color Purple" sang "Purple Rain" for the audience in a tribute.

Guitarist Eric Clapton paid tribute to Prince on Saturday as a "true genius." Writing on his Facebook page, the British songwriter said he was in a deep depression in 1984 when he saw "Purple Rain" and called it a "light in the darkness" that helped him emerge from drug and alcohol abuse.

A festival attendee takes a photo as a skywriter spells "Prince," in honor of pop music icon Prince, at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, April 23, 2016.

A festival attendee takes a photo as a skywriter spells "Prince," in honor of pop music icon Prince, at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, April 23, 2016.

Prince fans in New Orleans will hold a jazz funeral for the musician Monday in the historic Treme neighborhood. Organized via Facebook, it will include mourners clad in purple, traditional marching bands and a release of white doves.

Sales of Prince's music have soared since news of the performer's death broke. On Thursday, the day he died, music sales tracking services estimated that 1.1 million recordings of his songs were sold.

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