Prince Rogers Nelson — better known as the legendary musician Prince — has died at the age of 57.
According to the AP, "his publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, told The Associated Press that the music icon died at his home in Chanhassen, [Minnesota]." TMZ reported that a body had been found at his home.
Remembering a music legend
Prince is a music legend. He wrote and sang. He played multiple instruments, but was especially known for his proficiency with a guitar. He created an unmistakable sound that was purely his own.
He began somewhat modestly with 1978's For You, which peaked at 163 on the Billboard sales charts. Prince's rise began in the early '80s. His first album to enter the Billboard top 10 was 1982's 1999, featuring the famous titular song, which has somehow only become more compelling now that the year in the title has come and gone.
He followed that up with 1984's Purple Rain, the soundtrack to a film he also starred in and one of the greatest albums of all time — one where every single song has gone on to become a classic. (Just look at some of the titles: "When Doves Cry." "Darling Nikki." "Let's Go Crazy.") The title track became a swooning, shimmering anthem that transcended its era.
To say Prince dominated the '80s would be accurate, but it's not as if he stopped making music after that. He continued making music right up until his death. The albums HITnRUN Phase One and Phase Two were released in late 2015 and received generally warm notices from music critics.
Consider this, one of the earliest hits of his career, "I Wanna Be Your Lover":
From there, he would go on to create a plethora of hits like, "Little Red Corvette," "Kiss," "When Doves Cry," "Let's Go Crazy," "Purple Rain," "Raspberry Beret," "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," and "Cream."
Those songs vary wildly, featuring different tempos, riffs, and crazy textures. They represent different combinations of many kinds of genres, and they're a testament to his musical genius.
For his music, Prince won seven Grammys and received numerous nominations, including an Album of the Year nomination for Purple Rain.
But Prince was also an icon of style and fame
Prince stood out in the 1980s as a black pop star who didn't just become famous — he became a global icon.
"What Prince and Michael Jackson did, was they said, ‘I don't want to be just famous within the black community, I want the world. I want everything.'" Touré told WBUR about the icon.
He was also known for being an amazing showman, and his Super Bowl halftime show will go down in history as one of the best ever.
Prince was also active in film. He won an Oscar for the song score for 1984's Purple Rain. The soundtrack album went on to become a massive hit as well, and the title song became one of his anthems.
But his on-screen career went beyond his most famous movie. He also composed the songs for the 1989 Batman. He directed and starred in 1986's Under the Cherry Moon. He even had a memorable guest appearance in a post-Super Bowl episode of New Girl.
Tweeted Jake Johnson, a star of that show:
Meeting big stars is mostly disappointing in one way or another, but that was not the case w Prince. He was everything I hoped he'd be.— jake johnson (@MrJakeJohnson) April 21, 2016
The qualities that made Prince such an entertaining musician also made him a fascinating on-screen presence. In films like Purple Rain, he could turn on the smolder and charm, but he was equally capable of pivoting to a wryly amused raise of the eyebrow.
Many of the times Prince was on screen he was mostly asked to play Prince. And he was only too happy to oblige by playing up everything already famous about himself.
He also briefly, somewhat infamously, changed his name to a symbol — something later revealed to be part of a contract dispute with his record label. As Anil Dash argues, Prince was always looking to have as much control over his image, over his music, and over his fame as possible — which explains his arguments with his label.
It’s why so many misunderstood Prince’s relationship to the Internet, or to the music industry. He always, always optimized for _control_.— ଅନୀଲ (@anildash) April 21, 2016
Prince, finally, was also famous as a Midwesterner, a Minnesotan by birth who continued to call the Minneapolis area home for most of his life. He was remembered by Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison.
Can’t believe he’s gone. My statement on Prince’s passing: pic.twitter.com/fkWTM7wcLO— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) April 21, 2016
This past Friday, Prince was hospitalized and treated for three hours. He had performed two shows on Thursday night in Atlanta.
We'll be updating this post as more information comes in.
Correction: This post originally said that Prince wrote the score for Batman. He only wrote the songs.