By Stacy M. Brown (From The Washington Informer, NNPA Member)
The words were as stunning as the report:
“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,” said Prince’s publicist Yvette Noel-Schure.
For more than three decades, Prince was one of the kings of music. He released 39 albums, won 7 Grammy Awards, an Oscar and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
His 1984 film, “Purple Rain,” was considered one of the most influential music films in history, producing such chart-topping hits as “Let’s Go Crazy,” “When Doves Cry,” and “I Would Die 4 U.”
His original score for the motion picture “Purple Rain” earned him an Oscar while the music swept both the American Music Awards and Grammys in 1985.
Prince followed “Purple Rain” with several albums including “Graffiti Bridge,” “LoveSexy,” and the groundbreaking “Sign ‘O the Times.”
After a performance in Atlanta a week ago, Prince fell ill on his private plane which was diverted and the singer was rushed to the hospital.
He emerged days later at his Paisley Park Studios in Minneapolis telling fans not “to waste your prayers…”
However, earlier Thursday, police investigators confirmed that they were looking into the death of an individual at Paisley Park. Work spread quickly and eventually it was learned that the icon was dead.
“It’s the worst day ever, I’m crying,” singer Boy George tweeted.
Superstar Katy Perry also joined the many celebrities to take to social media. “And just like that…the world lost a lot of magic. Rest in Peace Prince! Thanks for giving us so much..,” Perry wrote.
A year ago, Prince played a concert in Baltimore in the wake of the unrest related to the death of Freddie Gray, the singer even recorded a song called “Baltimore,” in which he sought to soothe residents.
Named after his father’s band, Prince signed his first music contract in the mid-1970s and eventually released albums like “Prince,” “Dirty Mind,” and “1999,” which spawned such hits as “Little Red Corvette,” “Delirious,” and the single, “1999.”
It became apparent that Prince had become a unique combination of James Brown, Jimmy Hendrix and Little Richard.
His 1980s success led many to compare him to Michael Jackson, who died in 2009 at the age of 50.
What set Prince apart was his ability to propel the careers of others. He wrote, produced and collaborated with Sheena Easton, Madonna, Chaka Khan, Sheila E., The Time, Apollonia Kotero, Patti LaBelle, Cyndi Lauper, Sinead O’Connor and countless others.