© REUTERS/Chris Pizzello/Files Singer Prince performs in a surprise appearance on the “American Idol” television show finale at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California in this May 24, 2006 file photo.
The Washington Post reported that at about 9:45 a.m. local time Thursday, deputies responded to a “medical call” at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, where they found Prince unresponsive in an elevator, according to a statement from the Carver County Sheriff’s Office.
Emergency personnel performed CPR but were not able to revive him, authorities said, and Prince was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Carver County Sheriff’s Office said it is investigating the death with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office.
Carver County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Kamerud told the Associated Press that it’s too early in the investigation to speculate about what led to Prince’s death, adding that foul play “is neither suspected nor not suspected.”
Prince was reportedly hospitalized after his plane made an emergency landing Friday. According to TMZ, the entertainer had been battling the flu; the Minneapolis Star Tribune, citing two sources close to the artist, reported that he was back home by Friday evening.
Making a brief appearance at that party, Prince played “Chopsticks” on a purple Yamaha piano and showed off a new purple guitar, the Star Tribune reported.
That’s because perhaps one of the raunchiest, steamiest pop culture figures in the past quarter-century was a conservative Jehovah Witness. Religious and spiritual themes ran through a huge amount of his work, including this tiny sampling of lyrics:
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called Life,” he intoned, pastor-like, in “Let’s Go Crazy.”
“If God one day struck me blind, your beauty I’ll still see” – “Adore”
“We all have our problems, some are big, some are small. Soon all of our problems, y’all, will be taken by the cross.” – “The Cross”
Prince even appeared on a lot of playlists created for the U.S. visits of Pope Benedict (2008) and Pope Francis (2015) — yes, playlists for pope trips exist! That’s because of his classic “The Pope,” which included this line: “You can be the president, I’d rather be the pope. You can be the side effect, I’d rather be the dope.” (Then a few unpublishable words.)
My colleague Justin Moyer wrote about Prince last year, when His Purpleness announced he’d play in Baltimore, to honor Freddie Gray.
Here’s Moyer on Prince’s faith — he was a Jehovah’s Witness — and how the singer apparently intended his intense, bawdy expressions of sexuality to be linked to the worship of God. This excerpt begins with Prince talking in 2009 with Tavis Smiley, and explaining why he — Prince — didn’t vote for Obama, the first black president:
“The reason why is that I’m one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses,” Prince said. “And we’ve never voted. That’s not to say I don’t think … President Obama is a very smart individual and he seems like he means well. Prophecy is what we all have to go by now.”
Indeed, though Prince is famous for writhing around naked in purple bathrooms and writing songs with titles like “Sexy M.F.,” religion — okay, “prophecy” — has guided much of his music. For every filthy song like “Darling Nikki,” it seems, there is a track like “The Cross.” The Purple One’s religiosity became even more apparent after ‘he turned to Jesus’ in 2001.
“I don’t see it really as a conversion,” he said. “More, you know, it’s a realization. It’s like Morpheus and Neo in ‘The Matrix’.”
Then there was the time Prince came out against gay marriage. In a New Yorker profile in 2008, he slighted Republicans and Democrats — “neither of them is getting it right,” he said — but singled out same-sex marriage as part of the Democrats’ notion that “‘You can do whatever you want.”
“God came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out,” he told the magazine. “He was, like, ‘Enough’.”
Perez Hilton later quoted “a Prince source” as denying the New Yorker depiction of the interview.
If the idea seems bonkers that the man who shrieked with unbridled sexual energy in the intro of “When Doves Cry” is actually a prude, well, maybe it’s not.
“Prince intended sexuality to be linked to the worship of God, and he filled his music with classic Christian messages,” the author Touré wrote in 2013 in “I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became an Icon,” “meaning Prince was sexual but, ultimately, very conservative.”
Many of these artist’s Michael Jackson (another JW), Elvis Presley (conservative Pentecostal background) are all in the end, slaves to sin. The Lord Jesus if we hold to the truth will set us free from this double life.