Legendary musician Prince died Thursday morning at his home. He was 57.
The artist's publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, said in a statement that he died at his Paisley Park residence in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Earlier reports had indicated that the music icon, full name Prince Rogers Nelson, was sick with the flu earlier this month and was even rushed to a hospital after his plane made an emergency landing. No cause of death was immediately announced.
Prince sold tens of millions of albums worldwide in a career that spanned several decades. The artist rose to superstar status with the release of his landmark album "Purple Rain." That album sold millions of copies and spent 24 consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard 200, in part because of songs "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy."
Some reports have indicated that Prince had so much unreleased music that his estate could issue an album per year for a century after his death.
The artist famously turned out albums in quick successions during the 1990s as a way of getting out of his contract with Warner Bros., with which he had differences over both music and money.
He even appeared with the word "slave" written on his face in reference to his contractual obligations with the company. Prince went so far as to change his public name to an unpronounceable symbol because he said Warner owned the name Prince.
"It was a difficult battle, he gave up his name ... There have always been artists fighting the label system, and he probably did it in the most high-profile way that anyone has ever done it before," Alex Gale, Billboard Magazine senior editor, told CNBC. "Artists have a lot more power now, and I think they can thank Prince for that."
Prince was also involved in copyright disputes in the 2000s, threatening to sue YouTube and eBay in 2007.
"YouTube ... are clearly able (to) filter porn and pedophile material but appear to choose not to filter out the unauthorized music and film content which is core to their business success," a statement released on his behalf said.
Ever surprising, he announced on stage in New York City last month that he was writing his memoir. "The Beautiful Ones" was expected to be released in the fall of 2017 by publishing house Spiegel & Grau.
The publishing house has not yet commented on status of book, but a press release about the memoir says: "Prince will take readers on an unconventional and poetic journey through his life and creative work." It says the book will include stories about Prince's music and "the family that shaped him and the people, places, and ideas that fired his creative imagination."
In 2004, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll 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."
A small group of fans quickly gathered Thursday outside his music studio, Paisley Park, a white building surrounded by a fence about 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis. A Carver County sheriff's squad car was parking in the studio lot.
As of about 2 p.m. ET "The Very Best of Prince" topped Apple's iTunes album chart — with "Purple Rain" in the third position.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.