Iconic singer Prince dies at age 57

By Mary Valterria

Prince, the singer/songwriter behind the iconic hits “Purple Rain,” and “When Doves Cry,” died April 21. He was 57 years old.

An autopsy was conducted April 22, according to the website of the Midwest Medical Examiner’s office. Prince’s body was released to family members the same day.

In the week leading up to his death, Prince made his final concert performance in Atlanta. The April 14 show began with an apology from Prince, who had canceled two previous appearances because he was said to be experiencing flu-like symptoms. Hours later, Prince was treated and released at an Illinois hospital after his private plane made an emergency landing.

Multiple news outlets, including CNN, reported April 23 that Prince’s body had been cremated.

Riverside City College student and longtime Prince fan Jessica Samano expressed her sorrow and disbelief about Prince’s untimely passing.

“It’s a jab to the heart to hear about Prince’s death,” said Samano. “We tend to see musicians as immortals but human life is fleeting.”

With a solemn tone, Samano explained that she grew up listening to Prince.

“His music filled my entire house on Sundays and during family barbecues,” said Samano.

Prince, who was born Prince Rogers Nelson, became synonymous with the color purple after releasing his 1984 single “Purple Rain,” which was one of his most popular hits. His album of the same name eventually sold over 10 million copies and spent 24 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard charts.

“Purple Rain” made Prince a superstar and he continued to shine even brighter with every electric performance. Prince edgily displayed his talents by constantly recording music and touring. He also promoted other artists such as Sheila E, Morris Day and the group Vanity 6.

Prince starred with Matthews in the 1984 cult-classic movie “Purple Rain,” which also featured Day. The movie tells the story of a struggling musician who comes from a broken home.

The storyline seemed to run parallel with Prince’s early life experiences. It highlighted his provocative demeanor, his commanding stage presence and his deep passion for making music.

For a brief time in the early ‘90s, Prince uniquely changed his name to a solitary symbol, which portrayed both the male and female symbols combined. It was during this time that he was referred to as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.” Soon after, this alias was shortened to simply “The Artist.” Eventually, he returned back to his roots and was once again known as “Prince.”

Even after death, Prince’s popularity continues to skyrocket.

According to Forbes, Prince’s greatest hits collection “The Very Best of Prince,” quickly climbed the Billboard charts after news of his passing and has now reached No. 1 with “Purple Rain” holding the No. 2 spot. This brings Prince to an official count of five No. 1 albums.

Select AMC theaters, paid homage to Prince by showing his beloved film “Purple Rain” on the big screen through April 27.

Prince was the sound of an entire generation.

His tremendous talent, fervent performances and trademark androgynous fashion sense were admired by millions of fans. His impact on the music industry was undeniably the embodiment of pop-culture.

Prince continues to make his mark all over the world, through devoted fans that vow to keep his memory alive.

Samano said she plans to continue to keep Prince’s legacy alive by keeping him on her playlist for family events.

Even so, Samano said Prince’s death marks the end of an era.

“We’ve lost a legend,” said Samano.