Prince died today (April 21) at the age of 57, at home in his Paisley Park compound in Minnesota. Despite the news one week earlier that he'd been rushed to a hospital after an emergency landing in Illinois, his death didn't just sadden music lovers, it shocked them — as with the January passing of fellow music icon David Bowie, the realization that even this larger-than-life figure is vulnerable to human mortality is a jarring one. Since his 1979 debut, the man born Prince Rogers Nelson made iconic contributions to music, film and pop culture at large, as well as helping set the bar for how "incredible performer" is even defined.
Beyond his talent as a multi-instrumentalist performer and songwriter, and his memorable (if imperfect) forays into film acting from 1984 to 1990, Prince made being Prince a riveting thing to watch. Whether he was serving mean guitar face onstage before leaping onto a piano or simply strutting around in one of his countless immaculate (and loud) well-tailored suits, we couldn't take our eyes off of him. He cultivated a mystique that inspired parody from comedians including Fred Armisen and Dave Chappelle — and his clear delight in Charlie Murphy's infamous "pancake story" dramatization on Chapelle's Show proved he had a sense of humor about it, too.
Click through the gallery above to revisit moments from Prince's life, from his memorable Super Bowl XLI performance to a sweet exchange with second wife Manuela Testolini.
Prince's Albums, Ranked