Preliminary autopsy results released

Reflections on Prince's life and career

- The preliminary autopsy results have been released by the Midwest Medical Examiners Office.

The Chief Medical Examiner for Midwest Medical Examiners Office, on behalf of the Carver County Sheriff’s Office, has performed the autopsy on Prince Rogers Nelson. The autopsy began at 9 a.m. CDT and was completed by Dr. A. Quinn Strobl at 1 p.m. local time. The body will be released to family later today.

As part of a complete exam, relevant information regarding Mr. Nelson’s medical and family history will be gathered. Anything which could be relevant to the investigation will be taken into consideration.

Midwest Medical Examiners Office will not release information until the exam is complete and all results are obtained. Gathering the results will take several days and the results of a full toxicology scan could likely take weeks.

Public information will be provided as soon as it is available in accordance with the investigation. Sign up to receive updated information as it becomes available at and click on the Stay Informed envelope icon. Or follow the twitter feed at @MidwestMedExam.

In a statement released on the passing of Prince by Mayor Kasim Reed: “In honor of his last performance in the City of Atlanta, City Hall will be lit purple tonight to celebrate the life, legacy and music of Prince.

Prince led a singular, dynamic career, spanning four decades and reaching generation after generation of fans. His incredible live performances moved people to dance and to feel.

As scores of people listen to Prince singing and playing the piano at the Fox Theater, his memory will be indelibly tied to our city and the fans who celebrated him here.

I encourage everyone to remember and listen to their favorite Prince song today - mine was ‘Raspberry Beret.’ It never fails to put a smile on my face and a song in my heart."


Authorities responded to a medical call at Prince's Paisley Park on Thursday morning to find him unresponsive in an elevator. The local sheriff says first-responders performed CPR, but that 57-year-old Prince couldn't be revived. He was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m. 

"It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57," the musician's publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure said Thursday. 

The singer's death came two weeks after he canceled concerts in Atlanta because he wasn't feeling well. He performed April 14 in Atlanta, apologizing to the crowd shortly after coming on stage.

While talking to the crowd between songs, he joked about having been "under the weather," giving a slight smile. His voice seemed a bit weak at times when he spoke, but he sounded fine when singing during the 80-minute show, which featured "Nothing Compares 2 U" and his finale, "Baby, I'm A Star."

He sat at his piano for most of the show, but stood up at times to pound the keys and walked around the piano a couple of times, soaking up cheers.



Following news reports that he had fallen ill while returning from Atlanta to Minneapolis, Prince hosted a dance party on April 16 at his Paisley Park compound in Minnesota.

Jeremiah Freed, who runs the website and who got to know Prince after writing about him over the years, said he last saw Prince at the dance party. Freed said he believed Prince held the party to show everyone he was fine.

Freed said Prince made a brief appearance but that he didn't have one-on-one time with the musician that night. Freed said the artist showed off a new purple piano he had received as a gift, as well as a purple guitar, but seemed upset about the reports of an illness.

"When he had to talk about the stories going on, he didn't seem too pleased. It was kind of like, 'I'm here. I'm good,'" Freed said, adding that Prince told the crowd: "Just wait a few days before saying your prayers."

Lars Larson, a 37-year-old Minneapolis man who worked security for Prince and at Paisley Park events for about six years, said he attended the same party. Larson said the singer briefly appeared on stage and spoke to the crowd before standing by the sound board for 20 minutes then disappearing for the night.

"He seemed great. He looked like Prince," he said. "The whole point of the show on Saturday was to show he was doing all right."

See related: Prince dead at Paisley Park estate in Minnesota 

Remembering Prince:

Born Prince Rogers Nelson, Prince broke through in the late 1970s with the hits "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?" and "I Wanna Be Your Lover," and soared over the following decade with such albums as "1999" and "Purple Rain." The title song from "1999," his funky and flippant anthem about an oncoming nuclear holocaust, includes one of the most quoted refrains of popular culture: "Tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999."

He won seven Grammys and received an Academy Award in 1985 for his music from the movie "Purple Rain." In 2004, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame, which hailed him as a musical and social trailblazer.

Prince made his acting debut in "Purple Rain," playing a sexy, androgynous young musician on the cusp of fame. The film amplified Prince's popularity and was a box-office success with $68 million in ticket sales. Besides winning the Oscar for Original Song Score, the "Purple Rain" soundtrack won Grammys for its writing and performance. The film received mixed reviews, but Roger Ebert called it "one of the best combinations I've seen of music and drama."

Photo: Prince performing at Fox Theatre April 2016, Atlanta/Sandra Cauley
Prince was fiercely protective of his independence, battling his record company over control of his material and even his name. Anxious to get out of his contract with Warner Bros., he identified himself by a key-like symbol with an unpronounceable name. (Journalists called him "TAFKAP," or The Artist Formerly Known as Prince). Prince also once wrote "slave" on his face in protest of not owning his work and famously fought and then departed Warner, before returning a few years ago.

"What's happening now is the position that I've always wanted to be in," Prince told The Associated Press in 2014. "I was just trying to get here."

Photo: Prince performing at Fox Theater, Atlanta April 2016/Valerie Burkes

Music was in his blood. Prince's father played in a jazz band in Minneapolis, under the name "Prince Rogers," and his mother was the singer. The precocious young Prince taught himself to play the piano at age 7, the guitar at 13 and the drums at 14. But his home life was also troubled. His parents separated when he was 10, and Prince, who ended up with six siblings and half siblings, moved back and forth between the homes of his mother and father.

In 1978, the year he turned 20, Prince debuted with the album "For You." It was a declaration, if nothing else, that he could do anything: He wrote and sang the material, and served as his own one-man band on guitar, bass, drums, synthesizers, chimes and assorted other instruments.

The album received mixed reviews, but his second album — called "Prince" — sold more than a million copies and launched his run of hit albums and singles over the next few years.

But he didn't just become a star in his own right: He was a veritable music factory, whether with side projects, such as Vanity and Morris Day and The Time, or the songs he wrote for others. Sinead O'Connor had a hit with "Nothing Compares 2 U," while other covers included Cyndi Lauper's "When You Were Mine" and the Bangles' "Manic Monday."

Prince's influence even extended to politics, well before Obama's time. In the mid-1980s, Tipper Gore, wife of then-Sen. Al Gore of Tennessee, heard one of her daughters listening to Prince's "Darling Nikki." Horrified by the song's reference to masturbation, she helped launch an organization dedicated to a labeling system for explicit content, the Parents Music Resource Center. A nationwide debate about censorship soon followed, including congressional testimony from Frank Zappa among others, and the refusal by some record sellers to offer releases deemed in need of advisories.

Prince had been touring and recording right up until his death, releasing four albums in the last 18 months, including two on the Tidal streaming service last year. He performed in Atlanta last week as part of his "Piano and a Microphone" tour, a stripped-down show that featured a mix of his hits, like "Purple Rain" or "Little Red Corvette," and some B-sides from his extensive library.

Prince debuted the intimate format at his Paisley Park studios in January, treating fans to a performance that was personal and both playful and emotional at times.

The Associated Press contributed to this article. 

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