The music world has lined up to pay tribute to Prince after it was confirmed the singer has died aged 57.
Prince was admitted to hospital last week with a mystery illness, and was found dead at the recording studio at his home in Minnesota.
The singer played a show at his famed Paisley Park studio just four days ago, and had released four albums – Plectrumelectrum, Art Official Age and HITnRUN Phase One & Two – in the past two years.
Lily Allen, Hozier and Boy George are among those who expressed their shock at the news minutes after it was confirmed at around 6pm on Thursday.
Boy George said he was crying at the news, commenting: “Today is the worst day ever. Prince RIP. I am crying.”
Nile Rodgers said: “RIP our dearly beloved Prince. There are tears and love on our tourbus. I’ll never forget my brother. We had good times.”
Hozier wrote: “It can’t be true”, while Lily Allen said simply: “Prince, you legend. Rest in peace.”
The Chemical Brothers’ Ed Simons tweeted: “Oh dear, so sad. Prince was incredible” and Marc Almond said: “Weird times. He was so young.” Alison Moyet wrote: “For heaven’s sake, what is going on?”
Prince had recently joined Twitter, writing “Thank u for ur extra time and ur….” on the day of his final Paisley Park concert.
He last played in the UK in 2014, stunning fans with a series of shows in London announced on the day of the performance at intimate club venues around the capital such as Koko and Electric Ballroom with capacities of fewer than 2,000 before a show at Manchester Arena with his new band 3rd Eye Girl.
Having taken a four-year break from music following his 2010 album 20TEN, Prince had appeared revitalised with his recent spate of music.
Infamously prolific, Prince released 37 official albums following his 1978 debut For You, with his 1980s albums including Purple Rain, Lovesexy and Sign O’ The Times meaning he was without parallel in that decade.
After falling out with his record label Warner Music, Prince’s albums were often released without marketing campaigns and became more obscure, but retained his signature funk. This became increasingly mixed with heavy rock towards the end of his career, as the influence of his hero Jimi Hendrix became more pronounced.
With the reviews of his final shows being among the best of his life, we can only wonder at the dazzling showmanship which would have been in store as Prince hit his sixties. RIP.
Loaded’s deputy editor John Earls has covered entertainment and sport across a range of national newspapers, plus several football and music magazines, since 1990. Follow him on Twitter at @EarlsJohn