‘Purple Rain’ superstar Prince, superstar and pioneer of American music, dies aged 57

The unique and endlessly creative artist Prince has died at his Paisley Park home, outside Minneapolis, aged 57, leaving behind him a gaping hole in musical genres as diverse as R&B, rock, funk and pop.

The death was announced by his publicist Yvette Noel-Schure after police had been called to the premises which double as his music studio in the Minnesota city. No details were immediately given for the cause of death, though last week he was rushed to hospital apparently recovering from a bout of flu that had forced his private jet to make an emergency landing in Illinois.

At the time, a representative for Prince assured fans he was feeling much better and was resting at home in Paisley Park. Just five days ago the singer made an appearance at a dance party held at the estate where he told fans: “Just wait a few days before saying your prayers.”

The sudden death of the diminutive man who became such a towering musical figure, selling more than 100m records in a career of virtually unparalleled richness and unpredictability, prompted an emotional response across the music world. Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman, former members of Prince’s band, the Revolution, said they were “completely shocked and devastated by the sudden loss of our brother, artist and friend, Prince”.

Hundreds of fans gathered outside the singer’s Paisley Park home on Thursday to pay their respects to the superstar and musical pioneer. Some wore purple as others spread purple flowers across a makeshift memorial protected by volunteers at the compound.

The road outside the house was blocked off as news trucks gathered and fans came to pay their respects. A sign in the middle of the memorial read “RIP Prince” with a broken heart drawn between each word.

Vehicles were parked in and around the compound despite the local county sheriff department’s best efforts. A barrier was erected between the memorial and the crowd, fans said, out of respect for the family.

A poster hung along the fence was signed by fans reflecting on why the music legend was important to them. One read: “Thank you for teaching me to dance.” Another: “Your music always plays in our hearts.”

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