From a broken home in Minnesota to transforming the history of pop music forever: How Prince became one of the most influential artists of all time before premature death at 57
Prince grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Music was his release as his parents separated, he had epileptic fits
He released breakthrough solo album at 20 in 1978 then one a year until the smash hit '1999' in 1982
Was known for his tireless work ethic, claimed to have written Little Red Corvette in his sleep
Died at the age of 57 at home in Minnesota on Thursday, possible 'drug overdose'
Prince Rogers Nelson was born on June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Music was in his blood. His father John Lewis Nelson had a jazz band, in which he went by the stage name Prince Rogers. His mother Mattie Della Shaw was the lead singer.
By the age of seven, Prince - whose childhood name was 'Skipper' - had taught himself to play the piano, and had written his first song Funk Machine. Six years later he had mastered the guitar.
Many say his numerous talents masked the fact that he was one of the most skilled guitar players in musical history.
At 13 he could play the drums, and by the time he reached 20 he could play the bass, all kinds of percussion, and a smattering of wind instruments.
It was his release amid difficulties at home. His parents, who had six children, separated when he was 10, meaning he spent the rest of his teenage years moving between their homes. He also suffered from epilepsy.
Dreading school, he decided performing and being as 'flashy and noisy' as he could were the best tactic to avoid bullies.
At Central High School in Minneapolis, he snubbed everything to focus on his art. He liked his music teachers because let him do his own thing - teaching himself more than two dozen instruments.
Though he didn't find music lessons helpful, he keenly took them in the hope that he would pick up some news tricks.
'I've had about two lessons, but they didn't help much,' he told his student newspaper in 1976, the year he graduated. 'I think you'll always be able to do what your ear tells you, so just think how great you'd be with lessons also.'
He also played basketball - a passion he held for the rest of his life - and for the sophomore softball team.
Outside school, he was building up his breakthrough. He formed a band called Grand Central Corporation with his cousin Charles Smith and his adopted brother Andre Anderson (later known as Andre Cymone).
They performed around the city - first covers then original music with the early hallmarks of Prince's signature synth, funk and rock. Ultimately, they changed their name to Champagne.
Smith remembers Prince telling him at the time: 'I'm going to practice my behind off like James Brown's band, and I'm going to have everything so tight that you're not going to be able to say anything about it,' according to Possessed: The Rise And Fall Of Prince by Alexh Hahn.
Soon after graduating, Prince joined the funk group 94 East, which had been formed by Willie Pepe, the husband of another cousin.
The band gained a local following - and stayed together even as Prince released his debut solo album For You in 1978, the year he turned 20.
It was a declaration, if nothing else, that he could do anything: He wrote and sang all the material, and and played all the instruments, which included guitars, basses, synths, bongos, congas, finger cymbals, wind chimes, orchestral bells, and woodblocks, to name just a few.
But a year later, in 1979, Prince released his second solo album, the self-titled Prince, which was a breakthrough success, forcing 94 East to disband in early 1979. The album would eventually go platinum, and spawned the hit single I Wanna Be Your Lover.
He then released an album a year for the next three years, starting with Dirty Mind in 1980 (certified gold), Controversy in 1981 (certified platinum) and what would be his biggest album to date in 1982, named 1999.
That album, which went 4x platinum, contained three of Prince's most well-known songs including the title track, Delirious, and one of his signature singles, Little Red Corvette, which despite its undying popularity over the past 30 years never charted higher than number 6 in the US charts.
Its success gave him the leeway to persuade Warner Bros to fund a partly-autobiographical movie about a struggling musician from a broken home titled Purple Rain.
It took him two years to make - a timeline considered speedy by most artists; an age for Prince. But it was worth the wait: it became his masterpiece.
The album, which took the same name as the movie, was released in 1984 and served and the soundtrack for the movie.
The movie itself had some dodgy acting and clunky dialog. The music, however, won Prince his coveted Academy Award in 1985.
It went 13x platinum, with the classic song Purple Rain and two songs that topped the US charts: Let's Go Crazy and When The Doves Cry. Incidentally, Prince was the proud owner of a cage of doves in his purple-themed Minnesota home. And, reports claim, they cried.
The next eight years marked one of the most fruitful times in his career.
He was back in his one-album-a-year groove - Around the World in a Day (2 x platinum), Parade (platinum), Sign o' the Times (platinum), Lovesexy (gold), Batman (2 x platinum), Graffiti Bridge (gold), Diamonds and Pearls (2 x platinum) and Love Symbol Album (platinum).
Those albums contained singles including Kiss and Batdance from the 1989 film Batman, and Cream which all topped the charts, as well as Raspberry Beret, Diamonds and Pearls, and the Sheen Easton duet U Got the Look.
But in 1993 he announced his retirement - and changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol.
It came amid a dispute with Warner over his independence as an artist. The name-change was raucously mocked by the media as absurd, earning him the nickname The Artist Formerly Known As Prince - and it didn't help matters when he wrote 'slave' across his face in a pointed dig at the firm.
But the stunt had concrete motivations. He could go on to produce music independently without violating his strict contract, producing The Most Beautiful Girl In The World, the only one of his 39 records to top the UK charts.
After another five records, he left to sign with Arista Records. He changed his name back to Prince in 2000.
Prince was known for his tireless work ethic would be world-renowned, as he churned out groundbreaking records at a rate of one a year.
Even the less successful records produced classics. Notably, Around The World In A Day - which disappointed Purple Rain fans by leaping from rock to pysch-pop - featured the timeless Raspberry Beret.
He worked day and night - even claiming to have written Little Red Corvette in his sleep.
'There’s not a person around who can stay awake as long as I can,' he told the Rolling Stone in 1985. 'Music is what keeps me awake.'
Indeed, in his song All The Critics Love U In New York, he sings 'Body don't wanna quit. Gotta get another hit.'
His ex-wife Mayte described how the eponymous singer's life revolved around his work in an interview with the Daily Mail.
'Being with him was like being at the centre of a 24-hour creative machine,' she said.
'If we weren't on stage, we were rehearsing. If we weren't rehearsing, we were in the studio.'
In all, Prince produced 39 studio albums - four of them released in the last four months (now held exclusively by Tidal, much to many fans' dismay). He released his final two albums last year - HITnRUN Phase One in September and HITnRUN Phase Two in December.
His records sold more than 100 million copies, and he won seven Grammys, with his last win coming in the Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 2008 for his song Future Baby Mama.
In 2004, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which hailed him as a musical and social trailblazer.
'He rewrote the rulebook, forging a synthesis of black funk and white rock that served as a blueprint for cutting-edge music in the Eighties,' reads the Hall's dedication.
'Prince made dance music that rocked and rock music that had a bristling, funky backbone. From the beginning, Prince and his music were androgynous, sly, sexy and provocative.'
Though none of his records replicated the success of his work in the 1980s, he was lauded for experimenting so vociferously that he could never be sidelined as a nostalgic throwback.
He also experienced incredible success as a songwriter, famously claiming that Sinead O'Connor's Nothing Compares 2 U 'bought me a house'.
The house was his purple world in Paisley Park, Minnesota.
An Entertainment Weekly profile published last year describes the eclectic interiors of the 55,000-square-foot estate in all its bizarre glory.
'His signature pigment is everywhere, not exactly 50 shades of it, but close: orchid, eggplant, amethyst, grape soda,' writes reporter Leah Greenblatt.
'In the lobby there are a lot of celestial motifs—walls painted like clouds, area rugs covered in stars—tufted cushions, and oversize chairs in swoopy, Dr. Seussian shapes.'
His lingering presence was a source of pride for the state - perhaps a surprise event to him given the fact that he once said he wished he were born in New York.
'I was born here, unfortunately,' he told his high school paper in 1976.
'I think it is very hard for a band to make it in this state, even if they're good. Mainly because there aren't any big record companies or studios in this state. I really feel that if we would have lived in Los Angeles or New York or some other big city, we would have gotten over by now.'
However, after building a studio in the complex in 1988, he never left, recording upwards of 24 albums.
At the time he told the Rolling Stone: 'I can go out and not get jumped on. It feels good not to be hassled when I dance, which I do a lot. It's not a thing of everybody saying, 'Whoa, who's out with who here?' while photographers flash their bulbs in your face.
'It's a good and a bad thing that I live here. It's bad in the sense that I can't be a primo 'rock star' and do everything absolutely right," he added. "I can't go to the parties and benefits, be at all the awards shows, get this and get that. But I like it here. It's really mellow.'
It was there that on Thursday the eponymous performer was found lifeless and rushed to the hospital, after displaying severe flu symptoms.