NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - Prolific singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Prince Rogers Nelson, better known simply as Prince, was found dead Thursday in his suburban Minneapolis estate. He was 57.
His publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, confirmed the news to the AP, which reported that sheriff's deputies found Prince unresponsive in an elevator on the property but that first-responders could not revive him.
The Minneapolis native was briefly hospitalized in Moline, Illinois, last Friday after his private jet made an emergency landing there at about 1 a.m. TMZ initially reported that the singer had been battling a bad bout of flu, but now TMZ is citing several sources that Prince was actually treated for a drug overdose.
The local medical examiner did an autopsy on Friday. Results will not be released for days if not weeks.
One of the hit-maker's last performances was at Atlanta's Fox Theatre April 14. He was described as seeming fine by various media outlets.
His final public appearance is believed to have been on Saturday at a dance party in Minnesota.
While he didn't sing, Prince told the crowd: "Wait a few days before you waste any prayers."
The music icon was widely acclaimed as one of the most inventive musicians of his era, drawing upon influences ranging from James Brown to the Beatles to Jimi Hendrix. His hits included "Little Red Corvette," "Let's Go Crazy" and "When Doves Cry."
Prince broke through in the late 1970s with the hits "Wanna Be Your Lover" and soared over the following decade with such albums as "1999" and "Purple Rain."
The title song from "1999" includes one of the most widely quoted refrains of popular culture: "Tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999."
His film "Purple Rain" and the album of the same name propelled his fame even more. He won an Academy Award for original song score for "Purple Rain."
"Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly, or touched quite so many people with their talent," President Obama said in a statement. " 'A strong spirit transcends rules,' Prince once said -- and nobody's spirit was stronger, bolder, or more creative."
The Rock and Roll of Fame inducted Prince in 2004. "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," the Hall's dedication reads. "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."
With the Associated Press