Prince, who passed away tragically on Thursday at the age of 57, is survived by his sister, Tyka Nelson.
They were the only children born to John L. Nelson and Mattie Shaw.
Here’s what you need to know about her:
1. She’s Prince’s Closest Living Relative & Could Inherit His Massive Fortune
Tyka Nelson was born in 1960 and is two years younger than her brother, Prince Rogers Nelson.
Their parents, John L. Nelson and Mattie Shaw, were both jazz musicians living in Minneapolis. Nelson and Shaw divorced in 1966, when Tyka was 6 and Prince was 8.
Tyka Nelson is married to Maurice Phillips and attended Prince’s cremation and memorial service with him, the Chicago Tribune reports. She has two sons, Sir and Prez, and four stepchildren, Chelsea, Rachard, Crystal and Danielle, according to her Facebook page.
She has filed documents in probate court claiming Prince did not leave behind a will. She has asked for a special administrator to be appointed.
“I do not know of the existence of a will and have no reason to believe that the decedent executed testamentary documents in any form,” Tyka wrote in the court documents, according to TMZ. She also lists potential heirs as Prince’s living half-siblings:
You can read the full documents below:
With their parents deceased, Tyka is Prince’s closest living relative. The Daily Mail reports that, under Minnesota law, if Prince did not leave a will she stands to inherit his estate, worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Below is an excerpt from the relevant statute (the term intestate refers to cases in which there is no will):
524.2-103 SHARE OF HEIRS OTHER THAN SURVIVING SPOUSE.
Any part of the intestate estate not passing to the decedent’s surviving spouse under section 524.2-102, or the entire intestate estate if there is no surviving spouse, passes in the following order to the individuals designated below who survive the decedent:
(1) to the decedent’s descendants by representation;
(2) if there is no surviving descendant, to the decedent’s parents equally if both survive, or to the surviving parent;
(3) if there is no surviving descendant or parent, to the descendants of the decedent’s parents or either of them by representation;
The value of Prince’s estate has been estimated at $300 million, but that number is expected to soar in the years after his death. Owen Husney, Prince’s first manager, tells Reuters he values Prince’s music catalog at over $500 million.
2. She Overcame Drug Addiction & Has Become a Devout Christian
Tyka Nelson overcame several personal demons and is a devout Christian.
An “exclusive interview” in the September 23, 2003, issue of The National Enquirer — a transcript of which is shared here on a Prince fan forum — reported that Tyka suffered through crack addiction and worked as a prostitute to support her sons:
I was a single mother and my boys were babies. I sold my body for food, money and pampers. … I pawned the car Prince had given me and sold the kids’ TV for drugs.
Prince helped her go to rehab in the early 2000s to overcome her addiction, according to City Pages. She talked about her childhood and what led to her addiction in an interview with the newspaper. “I was the overweight kid who didn’t have a boyfriend. I listened to other people say, ‘You’re ugly, you’re fat, you’re stupid,’ and I believed it. My brother, he just thought I was crazy,” she said.
After going into rehab, she emerged clean and sober and restarted her music career with her 2008 album.
3. Tyka Nelson, Like Her Parents & Brother, Is a Musician
Tyka Nelson is also a musician, like her parents and brother, and has released six albums during her career. Her first album was released in 1988, and her most recent, A Brand New Me, was released in 2008.
“Growing up Tyka listened to Mahalia Jackson records and began singing at the age of 2. She wrote her first song at the ripe old age of 10. Tyka plays 4 different instruments: piano, guitar, bass and clarinet but defers, ‘I don’t consider myself a musician. I play just well enough to put down my own musical ideas,'” according to her label, Big Noise Now.
She talked about the new album on her label’s website in 2008:
I sing whatever comes out and if it sounds like him, I don’t know it until someone tells me. Then I think maybe I should change it, but since it’s really me, why? It is not my intent to sound like anyone else and I have strived to be original in everything I do. Even though my brother is someone I greatly love and respect, there can and will be only, one Prince.’
People have also asked why Tyka is not seeking the help of her brother and she explains, ‘If he helps me, then the songs would no longer be my own artistic expression. And although I could have never asked for a more wonderfully talented and helpful brother he is the type that would take over and then my masterpiece would become his. . We already know Prince can make great music that sells, the question is, can I?’
4. She Thanked Fans Who Gathered Outside Prince’s Home After His Death, Telling Them He ‘Loved You All’
Tyka Nelson was at Prince’s home on Thursday after his death and came outside to thank fans.
She told the fans who had gathered outside his house, her brother “loved all of you. Thank you for loving him back,” the Associated Press reports.
5. She & Prince Also Have 4 Half-Brothers & 3 Half-Sisters
Tyka Nelson and Prince have several half-brothers and half-sisters.
Before he married their mother, Mattie Shaw, Tyka and Prince’s father, John Nelson, had three daughters and two sons with Vivian Nelson. They are Lorna Nelson, Norrine Nelson, Sharon Nelson, Duane Nelson, and John R. Nelson. Duane Nelson died in 2011 and Lorna passed away in 2006.
Mattie Shaw later remarried and had two sons, Omarr and Alfred.
Read more about Prince and Tyka’s family at the link below: