PAISLEY PARK, Minnesota — The artist known as Prince, who pioneered “the Minneapolis sound” and took on the music industry in his fight for creative freedom, died Thursday, April 21st at age 57.
According to TMZ, there is evidence Prince’s death was not unexpected, because TMZ has learned the superstar started writing his memoirs just a month ago.
Sources connected with Prince tell TMZ, they were surprised he started the project — something he had been mulling over for years but not acting upon.
TMZ was told Prince had finished around 50 pages at the time of his death.
TMZ is reporting that Prince hit up a local pharmacy hours before he died — the fourth time he visited the pharmacy this week.
TMZ obtained this photo of Prince leaving a Walgreens pharmacy near his home in Minnesota on Wednesday night, April 20th:
Sources tell TMZ people at the Walgreens store were concerned because he looked much more frail and nervous than usual.
What’s more — according to TMZ, on Saturday night, April 16th, after Prince was admitted to a hospital for what his reps called the flu, he addressed a crowd at Paisley Park near his home and said: “Wait a few days before you waste any prayers.”
Whatever was ailing Prince, it was serious enough to sideline him several weeks ago from doing two shows, and it clearly lingered because he had to make an emergency landing last Friday, just 48 minutes from his home.
Sources tell TMZ Prince was upset the news got out that he had been hospitalized, and feared people would think he was already dead.
Here is a look at the life of Prince, a multitalented entertainer famed for his eclectic sound, glittery wardrobe and provocative lyrics.
Personal: Birth date: June 7, 1958
Birth place: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Birth name: Prince Rogers Nelson
Father: John Nelson, jazz pianist
Mother: Mattie Shaw, social worker and singer
Marriages: Manuela Testolini Nelson (2001-2007, divorced); Mayte Garcia (1996-2000, divorced)
Children: One child, named “Boy Gregory” with Mayte Garcia. The baby died shortly after birth.
Other Facts: Prince has won seven Grammy Awards, and has earned 30 nominations.
Five of Prince’s singles have topped the charts and 14 other songs hit the Top 10.
One Oscar win, for the original song score of “Purple Rain.”
The singer’s predilection for lavishly kinky story-songs earned him the nickname, His Royal Badness. He is also known as the “Purple One” because of his colorful fashions. In the film, “Purple Rain,” his character was nicknamed “The Kid.”
“Darling Nikki,” a song that details a one-night stand, prompted the formation of the Parents Music Resource Center. Led by Al Gore’s wife, Tipper, the group encouraged record labels to place advisory labels on albums with explicit lyrics.
As the Minnesota Vikings prepped to take on the New Orleans Saints in the 2010 NFC championship game, Prince wrote a fight song entitled “Purple and Gold” to inspire his home team. The Vikings lost.
Prince declared, “Albums still matter; like books and black lives, albums still matter tonight and always,” before presenting the award for Best Album during the 57th annual Grammy Awards.
Timeline: 1978 – Prince’s debut album, “For You,” is released by Warner Bros. He plays all the instruments on the LP and produces it himself, making him, at 19-years-old, the youngest record producer in the history of Warner Bros. at the time.
1980 – “I Wanna be Your Lover,” from Prince’s eponymous sophomore album, peaks at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
1982-1983 – Prince scores a hit with the album, “1999.” Three singles – the title track, “Little Red Corvette” and “Delirious” – reach the Top 40.
1984 – The film, “Purple Rain,” a rock drama starring Prince, is released. Its soundtrack, by Prince and the Revolution, contains hits like, “When Doves Cry,” “Let’s Go Crazy” and “Purple Rain.”
February 26, 1985 – Prince wins two Grammy awards for “Purple Rain” – Best Album Of Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or A Television Special and Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal. He gets a third Grammy – Best Rhythm & Blues Song – for writing “I Feel For You,” a hit recorded by Chaka Khan.
March 25, 1985 – Wins the Academy Award for Best Original Song Score, for Purple Rain.
1985-1992 – Releases eight albums, one per year, including the soundtrack for Tim Burton’s “Batman.” Stars in two more movies, “Under the Cherry Moon” and “Graffiti Bridge.” A concert film, “Sign ‘o’ the Times” hits theaters in 1987.
1987 – Unveils a $10 million recording complex/movie studio called Paisley Park in a Minneapolis suburb.
1993 – Changes his name to an unpronounceable symbol due to a dispute with his record label, Warner Bros. At the time, he is commonly called the “Artist Formerly Known as Prince.”
1994 – Warner Bros. releases an abandoned collection of songs that has come to be known as “The Black Album.” Bootleg copies of the tracks, recorded by Prince in 1987, had been circulating widely for years.
2000 – When the singer’s publishing contract with Warner Bros. expires, he reclaims the name Prince.
2001 – Becomes a Jehovah’s Witness.
2004 – Prince performs on the Grammy awards with Beyoncé. A month later, he is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
November 2006 – Prince opens 3121, a nightclub in Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. He performs there on the weekends for six months.
February 4, 2007 – The Super Bowl features Prince as the halftime performer.
May 09, 2015 – Addressing the unrest after Freddie Gray’s death in police custody, Prince releases the song, “Baltimore.” He performs a Rally 4 Peace benefit concert in Baltimore the next day, with a portion of proceeds donated to youth groups in the city.