Prince cre­mated, ser­vice held

‘Lov­ing good­bye’ from kin, friends

Winnipeg Free Press - SundayXtra - - WORLD - By Jeff Bae­nen and Kevin Bur­bach

MIN­NEAPO­LIS — Prince was cre­mated Satur­day and a group of his “most beloved” fam­ily, friends and mu­si­cians cel­e­brated him af­ter­ward in a small, pri­vate ser­vice, his pub­li­cist said.

Yvette Noel- Schure said in a state­ment the 57-year- old mu­sic su­per­star’s fam­ily and friends gath­ered “in a pri­vate, beau­ti­ful cer­e­mony” to say a lov­ing good­bye.

The state­ment did not say where the ser­vice was held, but friends such as per­cus­sion­ist Sheila E. and bassist Larry Gra­ham were both seen Satur­day en­ter­ing Prince’s sub­ur­ban Min­neapo­lis es­tate, Pais­ley Park. Prince’s sis­ter Tyka Nel­son and brother-in-law Mau­rice Phillips also were seen on the grounds, as were cater­ing trucks.

Hun­dreds of fans were gath­ered out­side the es­tate, where a se­cu­rity fence was cov­ered with pur­ple bal­loons, flow­ers, signs and more hon­our­ing Prince, who both lived and recorded there. Round, pur­ple boxes were handed out to some fans. Each box con­tained a hand­out with a colour photo of the late mu­si­cian and a black T-shirt with “3121” printed on it in white — the num­bers were the ti­tle of a Prince al­bum.

Prince was found un­re­spon­sive in an el­e­va­tor Thurs­day at Pais­ley Park, and an au­topsy was done Fri­day. But au­thor­i­ties have not re­leased a cause of death and have said re­sults could take days or weeks.

The pub­li­cist’s state­ment re­peated the cause of Prince’s death was un­known and said au­topsy re­sults wouldn’t be re­ceived for at least four weeks.

The state­ment said the “fi­nal stor­age” of Prince’s re­mains would be pri­vate, and a mu­si­cal cel­e­bra­tion would be held at a fu­ture date.

“We ask for your bless­ings and prayers of com­fort for his fam­ily and close friends at this time,” the state­ment said.

Prince was last seen alive by an ac­quain­tance who dropped him off at Pais­ley Park at 8 p.m. Wed­nes­day, ac­cord­ing to Carver County Sher­iff Jim Ol­son. The Pur­ple Rain star, born Prince Rogers Nel­son, was found by staff mem­bers who went to the com­pound in Chan­has­sen, about 32 kilo­me­tres out­side Min­neapo­lis, the next morn­ing when they couldn’t reach him by phone.

Emer­gency crews who an­swered the 911 call could not re­vive Prince, the sher­iff said.

Celebrity web­site TMZ, cit­ing uniden­ti­fied sources, has re­ported Prince was treated for an over­dose of the pow­er­ful painkiller Per­co­cet while trav­el­ling home from con­certs in At­lanta last week. The site said his plane made an emer­gency land­ing April 15 in Mo­line, Ill., where he was briefly hos­pi­tal­ized.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for Prince have not re­sponded to re­quests from The As­so­ci­ated Press for com­ment on the re­ports of the emer­gency land­ing and over­dose treat­ment, and Satur­day’s state­ment from his pub­li­cist did not ad­dress them.

Ol­son, the sher­iff, and a med­i­cal ex­am­iner’s of­fice spokes­woman de­clined Fri­day to say whether pre­scrip­tion drugs were taken from the home af­ter his death. Ol­son did say emer­gency work­ers did not ad­min­is­ter Nar­can, a drug they carry to coun­ter­act over­doses, when they re­sponded to Pais­ley Park.

Prince’s death came two weeks af­ter he can­celled con­certs in At­lanta, say­ing he wasn’t feel­ing well. He played a pair of makeup shows April 14 in that city, apol­o­giz­ing to the crowd shortly af­ter com­ing on­stage.

Early in the first show, he briefly dis­ap­peared from the stage with­out ex­pla­na­tion. Af­ter about a minute he re­turned and apol­o­gized, say­ing he didn’t re­al­ize how emo­tional the songs could be. He played the rest of the show with­out in­ci­dent and per­formed three en­cores.

In the later show, he coughed a few times, though the show was again en­er­getic.

Then came the re­ported emer­gency land­ing en route to Min­nesota. The night af­ter that, Prince hosted a dance party at Pais­ley Park, where some fans said he looked fine and seemed irked by re­ports of an ill­ness. Prince didn’t play ex­cept to tap out a few notes on a pi­ano, and lin­gered only for a few min­utes be­fore dis­ap­pear­ing.

Prince was slated to per­form two shows ear­lier this week at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis but can­celled last week be­cause of health con­cerns.

Sheila E. has told the AP Prince had phys­i­cal is­sues from per­form­ing, cit­ing hip and knee prob­lems she said came from years of jump­ing off ris­ers and stage speak­ers in heels. But she said she hadn’t talked di­rectly with him in months.

JIM GEHRZ / STAR TRI­BUNE

A mourner and fan touches the star for Prince on a wall at First Av­enue, where the singer of­ten per­formed, Satur­day in Min­neapo­lis.

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