Pop superstar Prince, who was widely acclaimed as one of the most inventive 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 today in suburban Minneapolis, according to his publicist.
His publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, told the media that the music icon died at his home in Chanhassen. No details were immediately released.
The man born Prince Rogers Nelson stood just 5 feet, 2 inches 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.
A small group of fans quickly gathered today outside his music studio, Paisley Park, a white building surrounded by a fence about 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis. A Carver County sheriff's squad car was parking in the studio lot.
Carver County Chief Deputy Jason Kamerud told reporters that they responded to a medical call at 9.43 am (8.13 am). The cause of death is not yet clear.
The singer was hospitalised after his jet made an emergency landing on Friday morning.
A spokesperson later said he was suffering from the flu prior to the performance and that the plane landed at Moline so he could receive treatment there. Prince later flew on and returned home.
Prince was 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 2004, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll 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."
Prince became an international sensation in the 1980s, when he popularised the Minneapolis sound of danceable funk. His 1984 album 'Purple Rain' is often described as one of the greatest of all time.