The legendary pop singer Prince was found dead on Thursday morning in his Paisley Park home in Chanhassen, Minnesota. He was 57 years old.
Prince’s death comes less than a week after he was hospitalized with a bad flu. The singer, born Prince Rogers Nelson, was best known for his flamboyant stage performances (as well as his short stature, standing 5 feet, 2 inches) and his many hit songs including “1999,” “When Doves Cry” and “Purple Rain.”
His publicist Yvette Noel-Schure released the following statement: “It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57.”
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Police Found Prince In An Elevator
According to a report from the Carver County Sheriff’s Department, sheriff’s deputies responded to a medical call at Paisley Park at 9:43 a.m. They found Prince unresponsive in an elevator and performed CPR, but they were unable to revive him. He was pronounced dead on the scene at 10:07 a.m.
Sheriff Jim Olson said in a press conference on Friday that Prince was last seen the night before, Wednesday, at 8 p.m. An acquaintance had dropped him off at his house. The sheriff did not specify who that person was or where they were coming from.
An exact time of death is still pending the results of the autopsy, but his death went unwitnessed. Staff members of Paisley Park had been unable to contact Prince on Thursday morning, so they went to check on him. They found him unresponsive and called 911.
Olson said Prince was found dressed, wearing a shirt and pants. Three people were at the residence when deputies arrived. They cleared the residence, following standard procedure, and found no other people inside. He and the other responders also saw no obvious signs of trauma on the body.
The investigators finished processing the scene of Prince’s death on Thursday and released Paisley Park back to his representatives.
Read a transcript of the 911 call below:
Dr. A. Quinn Stobl, the Chief Medical Examiner of the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office, conducted the autopsy at 9 a.m. on Friday and concluded the exam at 1 p.m. The M.E. will not released any information until the exam is complete and the results are obtained. Gathering the results will take several days and a full toxicology scan will likely take weeks.
The Carver County Sheriff’s Department, with the assistance of Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office, are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death.
Paisley Park is located just outside of Minneapolis where Prince was born on June 7, 1958. His former label Paisley Park Records, created in 1985, was named after the complex where he continued to live and recorded after it folded in 1994 during his feud with Warner Bros. Records that distributed and funded the label. He also had a song “Paisley Park” on his 1985 album, Around the World in a Day.
2. Prince Visited the Hospital the Day Before His Death
Prince had visited a Twin Cities hospital on Wednesday, April 20, according to KSTP in Minneapolis. He was seen by a doctor and released the same day, returning home to Paisley Park.
Contrary to this report, Olson said during the press conference that there had been no emergency calls from Paisley Park involving Prince directly in the past year.
Later on Wednesday evening, he was seen leaving his local Walgreens drug store. Eyewitnesses told TMZ that he shopped at the store for years, but Wednesday night he “looked much more frail and nervous than usual.”
Prince had his private jet make an emergency landing on his way back home to Minnesota following a performance in Atlanta on April 14. The flight touched down at Quad City International Airport in Moline, Illinois at 1 a.m. and the singer was rushed to a nearby hospital. He was released three hours later.
TMZ is reporting that Prince was actually treated for a drug overdose during the emergency hospitalization last week in Illinois.
According to the TMZ report, Prince was given a “save shot” to reverse the effects of opiates in his system at the airport before he was transported to the hospital. Narcan, or naloxone, is a life-saving shot that serves as an antidote for opiate overdose.
Prior to his Atlanta performance, Prince had been suffering from the flu for weeks. It caused him to cancel his shows on April 7, but he didn’t want to miss the make-up performance, which he performed although he still wasn’t feeling well.
Once he arrived home, Prince tweeted, “I am #transformed.” He also retweeted a couple reviews of his Atlanta concert and got cheeky when he tweeted he was listening to his song, “Controversy,” given the stir his hospital visit had caused.
3. Prince Threw a Party 4 Days Before His Death to Show He Was Fine
Prince decided to throw a party at Paisley Park on Saturday night to quiet the rumors he was ill following his hospital emergency the day before in Illinois. He announced the party on Twitter late Saturday morning and set the price of admission at $10.
The party began at 10 p.m. and featured DJ Pam the Funktress. A little after midnight, Prince made a short appearance. He showed off his new purple Yamaha piano, playing “Chopsticks” and a short classical piece, displayed his new metallic purple guitar. He didn’t perform other than the piano rifts, but he did play a half-hour of the live concert from Atlanta over the Paisley sound system.
4. Prince Suffered Serious Hip Problems
Prince has suffered from hip problems for over a decade. He needs a double-hip replacement, but his faith as a Jehovah’s Witness prevents him from having a blood transfusion, which makes surgery near impossible. Despite their abstention from such such life-saving procedures, it has led to some major breakthroughs in bloodless medicine.
“Prince has suffered for years,” a source told The National Enquirer. It’s harder for him to get around.”
Prince walked out using a cane during the 2013 Grammy Awards when he presented Record of the Year to Gotye and Kimbra for “Somebody That I Used to Know.” But the musician has also used canes as a style accessory in the past.
5. There Is Growing Speculation Prince Had AIDS
A weekly newspaper in California, the Santa Monica Observer, is reporting that Prince had a weakened immune system due to complications from AIDS, which may have led to his death. The newspaper cites unnamed sources, who also said Prince contracted the disease in the ’90s and was taking medication to maintain the symptoms until “a couple friends and radical church goers” told him recently to come off the drugs.
Prince became a Jehovah’s Witness in 2001 and has adhered to the Christian sect’s beliefs, some of which keep a Witness from undergoing modern medical treatments.