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Prince cremated in private ceremony

Minneapolis, UNITED STATES | AFP |

Loved ones cremated pop icon Prince on Saturday with his final resting place to remain a secret, two days after his sudden death stunned the music world.

The 57-year-old “Purple Rain” creator, one of the most acclaimed and unique artists of his generation, will eventually be honored with a concert whose details will be announced at a later date, his spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman, Anna Meacham, said that Prince was cremated on Saturday at an undisclosed location and that his ashes’ “final storage will remain private.”

“A few hours ago, Prince was celebrated by a small group of his most beloved: family, friends and his musicians, in a private, beautiful ceremony to say a loving goodbye,” she said in a statement, with a faint echo of the opening lines to “Let’s Go Crazy.”

“An announcement will be made at a future date for a musical celebration.”

The pop legend, renowned for his stamina and prolific musical output, died suddenly Thursday at his Paisley Park estate near his birthplace of Minneapolis.

In line with statements from authorities, Meacham said that at least four weeks would be needed for the results of an autopsy on Prince’s cause of death.

Prince had been hospitalized a week earlier complaining of flu-like symptoms after his plane made an emergency landing on his way back from what would be his final full-fledged concerts in Atlanta.

Authorities plan in the coming days to search Paisley Park — Prince’s sprawling headquarters that was home to a state-of-the-art studio and vaults of vast unreleased work — although the move was routine and there were no indications of foul play.

“We have no reason to believe at this point that this was a suicide,” Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson told a packed news conference on Friday, adding that there were also “no obvious signs of trauma” of violence on Prince’s body.

The celebrity news site TMZ has reported that Prince’s earlier hospitalization may have been triggered by an overdose of an opioid-based painkiller.

Prince was legendary for his marathon performances, which would often last until dawn, but had hip surgery several years ago and suffered epilepsy as a child.

Tributes pour in

Prince, despite his personal eccentricities, was widely hailed as one of the greatest musicians of his generation, creating a unique brand of danceable funk and mastering the guitar so extensively that he could play it behind his back or blindfolded.

Tributes have come from throughout the music world and beyond.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Friday came out to “Let’s Go Crazy” on a campaign stop in Pennsylvania, calling Prince “extraordinary” and an “American original.”

US President Barack Obama, who invited Prince to play at the White House last year, has hailed the artist as “one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time.”

Obama, who was on an overseas trip, said he warmed up at the residence of the US ambassador in London to “Purple Rain” and “Delirious” played on a turntable.

Prince also became the sudden star of the second weekend of Coachella, the premier music festival which takes place in the California desert.

LCD Soundsystem, the influential New York electronic band that reunited for Coachella, performed a cover of Prince’s early funk hit “Controversy” during the group’s headlining set late Friday.

The English pop singer Ellie Goulding sang “When Doves Cry” at Coachella while Mavis Staples, the 76-year-old R&B icon once signed to Prince’s label, broke down with emotion before offering a rendition of “Purple Rain.”

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