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Music icon Prince dead at 57

In this undated photo, Prince performs on the "American Idol" finale at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. (REUTERS)

Prince, the innovative U.S. music superstar whose hits included "Purple Rain" and "When Doves Cry" and whose songwriting and eccentric stage presence electrified fans around the world, died on Thursday in Minnesota, his publicist said. He was 57.

"It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died," said publicist Anna Meacham.

Prince was found dead at his home at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, a Minneapolis suburb, the Carver County Sheriff's Office said on Twitter. The office said it was "investigating the circumstances of his death."

The local medical examiner declined to comment on the cause of Prince's death, which was first reported by celebrity website TMZ.

Shocked fans gathered with media crews outside Paisley Park Studios' gates to mourn the award-winning singer and musician, whose genre-defying music combined jazz, funk and disco, and influenced other musicians. His hit songs also included "Raspberry Beret," "Little Red Corvette" and "Kiss."

Prince, who was on a U.S. tour last week, was briefly hospitalized with the flu after his plane made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois, last week, TMZ reported. A representative told TMZ that Prince had performed in Atlanta even though he was not feeling well and felt worse after boarding the plane for a flight back to Minnesota.

Prince first found fame in the late 1970s, and over the next three decades became known as one of the most inventive and eccentric forces in American pop music.

Often making a statement with bold fashion choices, the diminutive star sometimes appeared on stage sporting ruffled shirts and tight pants or elaborate costumes, including chain mail covering his face, a shimmery orange tunic or bikini briefs.

Prince was regarded as a perfectionist who from 1993 to 2000 changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol in what was seen as a protest against his record label at the time.

For a while, he was dubbed "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince."

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