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Prince dead: Music icon dies at age of 57

The music industry and fans across the world are reeling in the wake of news that the legendary singer-songwriter Prince has died. Follow live updates here. 

Prince performs at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2007.
Prince performs at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2007. Photo: AP

The Purple Reign has come to an end

It is still several hours before a new day dawns in Prince's hometown of Minneapolis, and his friends and family will go on without him, mourning their overwhelming loss. 

Medical examiners are expected to carry out an autopsy on Friday (local time). A cause of death is not expected to be released for several days. 

We are winding up our live coverage of today's sad news, and the outpouring of grief for the iconic musician. 

You can read Michael Idato's wrap here:  walks us through the day's event and the world's response here: Prince dead, the Purple Reign is over

Rest in peace, Prince.
Rest in peace, Prince. 

'the man who made this 12 year old kid feel proud to be a freak'

Australians today have remembered their many and varied brushes with the pop superstar:

 "He was very reclusive, especially at that time in his life, so we had this list of rules that we had to adhere to like `Don't look Prince in the eye, don't approach him and don't talk to him."

-ARIA-Award winning singer Jenny Morris

"The greatest live act I ever saw. Genius, poet, sexy mother f***er. RIP Prince."

- actor Russell Crowe

"It makes me happy the man who made this 12 year old kid feel proud to be a freak, who never conformed to gender norms and refused to be a slave to the old corrupt ways of the music industry left this earth giving the finger to conformity. You can't find a single one of his recordings on YouTube or Spotify today. He was an artist to the very last second of his life."

- Singer Darren Hayes

"So honoured to have been associated with you for so many years. A true true icon of the music business. Hard to imagine you were only with us in Australia a few weeks ago with those amazing piano and microphone shows."

- Promoter Paul Dainty

Prince:  In the 1990s, he was in open conflict with the music industry.
Prince: In the 1990s, he was in open conflict with the music industry. 

Skipper and epilespy: Prince's childhood

Prince Rogers Nelson was called "Skipper" as a kid growing up in Minneapolis in the 1960s.

His father, John Lewis Nelson, was a pianist and songwriter and named his son after his stage name, Prince Rogers. 

Young Prince wrote his first song on his father's piano when he was just seven-years-old.

"I was born epileptic and I used to have seizures when I was young," he said in a 2009 interview on PBS.

"My mother and father didn't know what to do or how to handle it, but they did the best they could with what little they had," he said.

"My mother told me one day I walked in to her and said, 'Mom, I'm not going to be sick anymore,' and she said, 'Why?' and I said, 'Because an angel told me so'."

"From that point on, I've been having to deal with a lot of things — getting teased a lot in school — and early in my career I tried to compensate for that by being as flashy as I could and as noisy as I could."

Definitive cause of death will take days

Carver County chief sheriff's deputy Jason Kamerud said foul play "is neither suspected nor not suspected".

Kamerud told The Associated Press it's simply too early in the investigation. He said he was not sure how long it would take to process the death scene because of the size of the compound.

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

"The body of Prince Rogers Nelson has been received by Midwest Medical Examiners Office in Ramsey, MN ... an autopsy will be performed tomorrow [Friday]," the medical examiner's office said in a statement. 

Recap: Prince overdosed days before death, TMZ reports

Prince was treated for a drug overdose six days before his death, according to celebrity news rag TMZ.

The music icon's private jet made an emergency landing hours after he performed in Atlanta. He was released from hospital three hours later.

At the time his reps said he had contracted the flu. 

Prince was found dead in the elevator of his studio compound in suburban minneapolis on Thursday (local time).

Police deputies made the discovery after they were called to a medical emergency. They performed CPR but were unable to revive him.

The cause of death is not yet known.

His body is being prepared for autopsy on Friday (local time) by medical examiners in Ramsey, Minnesota

Police officers at Prince's Paisley Park complex after the musician's death.
Police officers at Prince's Paisley Park complex after the musician's death. Photo: AP
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Why prince can't be found on Spotify

If you're yearning to hold your own mournful tribute by plugging in your earphones and drifting away to your favourite Prince albums, Spotify can't help you.

Prince pulled his work from the streaming service in favour of the Jay-Z-backed Tidal last year, which claims to pay artists more royalties than any other platform. 

At the time Prince said it was important to support African-Amercian-owned projects.

"Tidal is a new company, it's brand new," Prince told Ebony magazine last year.

"They're just getting their footing, and I think when there's a company like that, or [Oprah Winrey's] OWN network - situations where we finally get into a position to run things - we all should help," he said.

You can read more from that interview here, as well as the backlash after Spotify tweeted a tribute to the iconic artist that shunned them.

When Prince played the guitar for Jenny Morris

"What are you going to say, no?" laughs Morris. "But he didn't play that night and I thought, oh well he's changed his mind about that. But about a week later we were playing Saved Me and I heard this amazing guitar and I looked side stage and he was sitting on an amp, plugged in, and he was playing along."

Read Bernard Zuel's story here.

Prince surprised Jenny Morris by playing on Saved Me during a tour in 1992.
Prince surprised Jenny Morris by playing on Saved Me during a tour in 1992. Photo: Supplied

Crowds gather at Paisley Park Studios

Fans converged on Paisley Park Studios where Prince lived and recorded.

Media and fans gathered outside of Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minneapolis after news broke of Prince's death.
Media and fans gathered outside of Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minneapolis after news broke of Prince's death. Photo: Carlos Gonzalez

Double J dedicates airwaves to Prince

Feel like a bit of a Prince love-in this weekend? 

Good news, Double J is playing nothing but Prince, all weekend. 

Get involved. 

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A life shaped by the Purple One

I always claimed Prince as mine. My discovery. My inspiration. My link.

It was weirdly personal - with equal emphasis on the weird and the personal. It resonated through my life at different times for nearly 40 years without ever becoming "real" in the sense of meeting the man. But it was very, very real.

In 1979 when I first heard what I assumed was his first album, I was devouring music by the container load, of every variety possible. And much of it was coming from my even more obsessed friend John Encarnacao who had brought me to Talking Heads and The Residents, the Monkees and Brian Eno. I didn't offer much in return: just hoping I could keep up and not look gauche in his company.

Then I found this self-titled record with a simple but powerful photo of a bare-chested, long-haired figure whose wispy moustache said "boy" but whose intense gaze said "man". 

Bernard Zuel has penned this touching piece about Prince. 

Many people have written of how their lives were shaped by Prince.
Many people have written of how their lives were shaped by Prince.  Photo: Getty Images

The time Prince played a secret gig in Melbourne

Were you there? The time Prince played that tiny gig at a small bar in Melbourne

It was a Sunday back in 2003 when the musician rolled into the laneway jazz club, and asked if he could play a gig. 

Lucky, the venue owner said yes, and it sparked a love affair between Bennetts Lane Jazz Club and a music superstar. 


Prince played secret Melbourne show

The owner of Bennetts Lane Jazz Club explains the power of Prince playing an intimate show to 100 people with only a few hours notice.

Twitter turns it on for Prince

It's been a big day on Twitter for Prince. 

More than six million tweets, to be precise. 

Prince's mark on the fashion world

Prince will be remembered not just for his music, but also for the eclectic mark he made on the fashion world.

The singer, who has died aged 57, broke all the fashion rules but, given his flair and panache, was able to pull off almost any outfit.

One of his most memorable looks was undoubtedly the (fittingly) purple suit and white ruffled shirt he wore in the film clip for his hit song Purple Rain.

Some said it was the look that sealed his fashion fate as a frontrunner in setting trends.


The year Prince took on the King of Pop

In this piece first published back in August 1984, The Sydney Morning Herald delves into what was supposed to be the summer of The Jacksons with their release of Victory

And then Prince released Purple Rain

Across the country, Prince's album outsold Victory two-to-one. 

Newsweek labelled Prince as "The new Prince of Hollywood", and said his semi-autobiographical rock-and-roll movie threatened to become the Flashdance of 1984. 

It's a great read. 


Prince on tour in 1984.
Prince on tour in 1984.  Photo: AP
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Molly's regret at Prince interview

Molly Meldrum interviewed all the big music stars, but they didn't all go smoothly.
Molly Meldrum interviewed all the big music stars, but they didn't all go smoothly. Photo: Eddie Jim

On Double J radio this morning, Molly Meldrum confessed he once got a very poor reaction from Prince during an interview. 

After telling him that during his infamous 'Symbol'/Artist Formerly Known as Prince era, Molly called him "luvvie" in an interview, because many people interpreted it as a love symbol.

Molly confessed his manager said it was the most stupid thing Molly ever said.


An eerie coincidence

Prince's death on Thursday came just two months after one of his most well-known girlfriends died at the same age of 57.

In an eerie coincidence, his former girlfriend and protege Denise Katrina Matthews died in February, aged 57, from renal failure after severe drug use throughout the 80s.

Prince paid tribute to her during a show in Melbourne just hours after learning of her death.

The pair met at the American Music Awards in 1980 and Prince immediately renamed her Vanity.

Legend has it that he wanted to name her Vagina but chose Vanity because she was his "female reflection".

The pair became one of the era's most colourful and intense power couples but Vanity ended her life as a much more private, broke Christian evangelist.

You can read the full story here.

This cartoon sculpture was commissioned for a Sydney Morning Herald cover in 1998 for a profile on Prince titled 'Portrait of the artist as an odd icon'.

In those days I used to make cartoon sculptures, which were then photographed and used as illustrations in the paper.

This was made with Super Sculpy clay and then hand painted.

A model of Prince, handmade for the Sydney Morning Herald in 1998.

A model of Prince, handmade for the Sydney Morning Herald in 1998. Photo: Patrick Cummins

I tried to make him as eccentric looking as possible, to suit the headline. My favourite part was his mini me teddy bear.

I gave the original to an ex girlfriend ... it could be in a thousand pieces by now!

Purple is taking over the internet in tribute to Prince. 

His hometown team, the Minnesota Twins turned everything purple - their Twitter account, and even their stadium. 

The Twins are amongst a host of sporting teams to pay tribute to Prince. 

The resident organist at the home of the Boston Red Sox played a Prince tune every innings - despite finding out about his death just half an hour earlier. 

The Minnesota Twins went purple.

The Minnesota Twins went purple. Photo: Twitter: Twins



The hair, it's all about the hair

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