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Musician Prince dead at 57

Prince, the singularly flamboyant and prolific songwriter and performer whose decades of music transcended and remade genres like funk, rock and R&B, died Thursday at his Paisley Park studio and estate in Minnesota, according to a statement from his publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure.

He was 57.

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"I'm crushed. And I know I'm far from alone," writes Jeff Miers.

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Across a career of more than 35 years, Prince released 39 albums and won seven Grammy Awards while being lauded not only for his songs, but their visual presentation both onstage and on camera. His 1984 film “Purple Rain” is widely considered one of the best and most influential music films, while its accompanying soundtrack won an Oscar and spawned the No. 1 hits “Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry.”

Other indelible Prince singles included “Little Red Corvette,” “Kiss,” “Raspberry Beret” and “Sign ‘O’ the Times.” He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

[Gallery: Prince in concert over the years]

Having never slowed his output or performances, Prince released four albums in the last 18 months, including the two-part “HITnRUN” in 2015. He sold some 40 million albums overall in the United States, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

Prince plays to a full house at Memorial Auditorium in December 1984. (Buffalo News archives)

Prince plays to a full house at Memorial Auditorium in December 1984. (Buffalo News archives)

In addition to being a commercial force, Prince was a trailblazer for artists’ rights and development, schooling and supporting numerous musical proteges – Morris Day, Sheila E, his most recent collaborators 3rdeyegirl – while waging his own fight against record labels, famously changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol and writing “slave” across his face during a dispute with his label at the time, Warner Bros.

He was a provocative performer who often played with androgyny and overt sexuality, posing suggestively on his album covers and shocking audiences at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2007 with a massive phallic silhouette of a guitar.

Prince had recently been touring as a bare-bones solo act on the “Piano and a Microphone” tour. And last month, he announced plans to release a memoir, tentatively titled “The Beautiful Ones,” for publisher Random House.

“We’re starting right at the beginning – my first memory – and hopefully we can move all the way to the Super Bowl,” he said at an intimate concert celebrating the book deal.

Artists across mediums and generations mourned Prince’s death online Thursday, including Katy Perry, Samuel L. Jackson, Bootsy Collins, Chris Rock and many more. “Long Live The King,” Questlove tweeted.

-- New York Times

*Prince in The News:
-- Prince shows his inventive side in two new albums (October 2014)
-- Review of "Musicology," Miers' 2004 review

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