Legendary Singer, Songwriter Prince Dead At 57

CHANHASSEN, Minn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Pop superstar Prince, widely acclaimed as one of the most inventive and influential 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.

He was 57.

His publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, told The Associated Press that the music icon died at his home in Chanhassen.

According to the Carver County Sheriff’s office, deputies responding to a medical call found him unresponsive in an elevator at about 9:43 a.m. Central Time. First responders tried to provide CPR, but were unable to revive him.

He was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m. Central Time.

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No details about what may have caused his death have been released. Prince postponed a concert in Atlanta on April 7, after coming down with the flu, and he apologized to fans during a makeup concert last week.

Carver County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Kamerud says foul play “is neither suspected nor not suspected.”

Kamerud told The Associated Press that it’s simply too early in the investigation. He says he’s not sure how long it will take to process the death scene because of the size of the compound.

Kamerud says the medical examiner typically takes a few days to have preliminary findings, and typically weeks for toxicology results.

Police released a transcript of the 911 call and it reveals that the people who called the emergency number did not know Prince’s address.

“Hi there, um what’s the address here? Yeah, we need an ambulance right now,” an unidentified male told the dispatcher.

The dispatcher asked what the address was and the man responded, “We’re at Prince’s house.”

The dispatcher told the man that his cellphone would not reveal where they are. He responded that “the person is dead here” and that he was working on getting the address.

The man later said, “So we’re, we’re in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and we are at the home of Prince.”

He finally gave the dispatcher Prince’s address, where the dispatcher noted that the location was Chanhassen, not Minneapolis.

Police said they would not release the audio of the 911 call.

President Barack Obama was just one of many who mourned Prince on social media, hailing him as “a creative icon.”

“Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly, or touched quite so many people with their talent,” Obama said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was “saddened” about Prince’s passing.

The singer, songwriter, arranger and instrumentalist broke through in the late 1970s with the hits “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” and “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” and soared over the following decade with such albums as “1999” and “Purple Rain.” The title song from “1999” includes one of the most widely quoted refrains of popular culture: “Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999.”

The “1999” album, along with two others, went on to create controversy due to the sexual nature, which became his trademark.

“Part of what Prince did, just like David Bowie, he played with images,” Joe Levy, contributing editor for Rolling Stone, told CBS2’s Jill Nicolini.

Prince won an Oscar in 1985 for his music when he made his film debut in “Purple Rain,” and the “Purple Rain” album helped him score his first two out of seven Grammy Awards. He had a total of 30 nominations and sold more than 100 million copies of his records.

“Ultimately, all music is, or can be, inspirational and that’s why it’s so important to let your gift be guided by something more clear,” Prince told CNN in 1999.

Prince’s albums skyrocketed to the top of iTunes’ best-seller list following his death. His 2001 greatest hits compilation “The Very Best of Prince” topped the albums sales list as of 2:30 p.m. ET. “Purple Rain” and “The Hits/The B-Sides” are in second and third place, and “1999” is fifth.”

The Minneapolis native, born Prince Rogers Nelson, stood just 5 feet, 2 inches tall, 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.

In 1993, Prince changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol and for the next seven years he was referred to as “The artist formerly known as Prince.”

“What’s happening now is the position that I’ve always wanted to be in,” Prince told the AP in 2014. “I was just trying to get here.”

“Our GRAMMY family is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of seven-time GRAMMY Award winner Prince,” Neil Portnow, President of the Recording Academy said in a statement. “Today, we remember and celebrate him as one of the most uniquely gifted artists of all time. Never one to conform, he redefined and forever changed our musical landscape. Prince was an original who influenced so many, and his legacy will live on forever. We have lost a true innovator and our sincerest condolences go out to his family, friends, collaborators, and all who have been impacted by his incredible work.”

In 2004, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall 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.”

In 2007, Prince took the stage during the Super Bowl halftime show, which is still one of the most talked about performances today.

“One of the interesting things about him is he kept his private life private, and in his later life refused to grant interviews,” Levy said.

Rarely lacking in confidence, Price effortlessly absorbed the music of others and made it sound like Prince, whether the James Brown guitar riff on “Kiss” or the Beatle-esque, psychedelic pop of “Raspberry Beret.”

He also proved a source of hits for others, from Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” to Cyndi Lauper’s “When You Were Mine.” He also wrote “Manic Monday” for the Bangles

Prince had been touring and recording right up until his death, releasing four albums in the last 18 months, including two on the Tidal streaming service last year. He performed in Atlanta last week as part of his “Piano and a Microphone” tour, a stripped down show that has featured a mix of his hits like “Purple Rain” or “Little Red Corvette” and some B-sides from his extensive library.

Prince debuted the intimate format at his Paisley Park studios in January, treating fans to a performance that was personal and was both playful and emotional at times.

The musician had seemed to be shedding his reclusive reputation. He hosted several late-night jam sessions where he serenaded Madonna, celebrated the Minnesota Lynx’s WNBA championship and showcased his latest protege, singer Judith Hill.

Ever surprising, he announced on stage in New York City last month that he was writing his memoir. “The Beautiful Ones” was expected to be released in the fall of 2017 by publishing house Spiegel & Grau. The publishing house has not yet commented on status of book, but a press release about the memoir says: “Prince will take readers on an unconventional and poetic journey through his life and creative work.” It says the book will include stories about Prince’s music and “the family that shaped him and the people, places, and ideas that fired his creative imagination.”

New Yorkers told CBS2’s Lou Young they were shocked about Prince’s death.

“I am the same age, I grew up with Prince. I have all his CD’s and his secret CD’s. I saw him eight times,” Corrine Mangin of Midtown said.

Billy Mitchell, an Apollo Theater tour guide, said, “Prince was nice on that guitar. A true musician.”

Harlem resident Joseph Smith said, “He was a stylist. He brought love into the world, with the peace sign on his guitar. He changed the world.”

A sidewalk memorial was set up outside the Apollo Theater in Harlem, while in Times Square Prince’s high-heeled purple boots were on display at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Charlotte Hall told WCBS 880’s Stephanie Colombini, “My daughter called me and was like, ‘Guess what, Mom? I have some bad news.’ And I’m like, ‘Are you pregnant?’ She’s like, ‘No, Prince died,’ and then I started screaming.”

In Fort Greene, Spike Lee led another gathering for music and memories.

“I want to celebrate his music, but I’m also sad,” Karen Minardi of Harlem said.

About 200 fans had gathered by Thursday afternoon outside Paisley Park, Prince’s home and music studio, where his gold records are on the walls and the purple motorcycle he rode in his 1984 breakout movie, “Purple Rain,” is on display. The sprawling white, stone building is surrounded by a fence in Chanhassen, about 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

Steven Scott, 32, of Eden Prairie, said he was at Paisley Park last Saturday for Prince’s dance party. He called Prince “a beautiful person” whose message was that people should love one another.

“He brought people together for the right reasons,” Scott said.

Prince was married and divorced twice.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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