While global tributes pour in after the unexplained death of pop superstar Prince on Thursday, the 57-year-old’s native Minneapolis has been paying its respects to the local boy whose songwriting and eccentric stage presence electrified fans around the world.
From a mass gathering of fans in the ‘First Avenue’ nightclub where the iconic ‘Purple Rain’ music film was shot, to streets packed full of mourners in his Minnesota hometown, dismay and sadness were mixed with pride.
All Night Dance Party. Tonight.— First Avenue (@FirstAvenue) 21 avril 2016
11:00PM | 18+ | No Cover | First Avenue pic.twitter.com/ptm7r9BjRR
“Certainly pride coming from Minnesota but he was a hell of a musician,” said fan Victoria Hopwood in Minneapolis.
“He played fourteen instruments. He wrote all of his own music – originals. He was a gifted musician, he was a gifted person.”
Celebrating Prince in Minneapolis. pic.twitter.com/0CIkYqsx1d— City of Minneapolis (@CityMinneapolis) 22 avril 2016
“It is the passion, you know, the passion in Prince’s music was always felt, no matter if you heard it in 1999, or heard it in 1989, or heard it in 2009, it doesn’t matter, his music is timeless,” added a local journalist, who gave his name as Benitez.
“Me and my mum grew up listening to Prince together. It has always been something really important to my family and just my development as a musician,” said Prince fan Kieran Blake.
The 35W bridge in Minneapolis purple for Prince. pic.twitter.com/w8IsUDDZuv— City of Minneapolis (@CityMinneapolis) 22 avril 2016
Prince’s influential, genre-defying music blended jazz, funk, R&B, disco and rock, winning seven Grammy Awards and an Oscar.
As well as “Purple Rain”, his hits include “When Doves Cry,”, “1999”, “Raspberry Beret,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Little Red Corvette” and “Kiss”.
He was on a US tour as recently as last week. Some reports say he was treated for a drug overdose after his final concert on April 14.
Officially, flu-like symptoms were blamed after reports the star’s plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Illinois following the concert. He was briefly hospitalised.
Prince -- Treated for Drug Overdose Days Before Death https://t.co/fmXjZE5HgF— TMZ (@TMZ) 22 avril 2016
As to why Prince was found unresponsive in a lift at the compound housing his studios and home in Minneapolis – with nothing able to be done for him – Friday’s post mortem examination should provide some answers.
Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger is among the latest stars to pay tribute on Twitter, hailing his fellow singer and musician as “revolutionary” and one of the most unique and exciting artists of the last 30 years. Prince was an original lyricist and a “startling” guitar player, he added.
“His talent was limitless,” Jagger wrote on Twitter.
I am so saddened to hear of Prince's passing. Prince was a revolutionary artist, a wonderful musician and composer. 1/3— Mick Jagger (@MickJagger) 21 avril 2016
Prince was an original lyricist and a startling guitar player. His talent was limitless. 2/3— Mick Jagger (@MickJagger) 21 avril 2016
Prince was one of the most unique and exciting artists of the last 30 years. 3/3— Mick Jagger (@MickJagger) 21 avril 2016
President Barack Obama called Prince “one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time,” and said few had influenced “the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly”.
The performer’s death was the most notable passing of a music giant since rock star David Bowie died of cancer at 69 on Jan. 10.