Sheila Clayton, left and Anna Horn, listen to their collection of Prince CD's on their boombox outside of Paisley Park. Image Credit: AFP

Thousands of people filled the streets outside the downtown Minneapolis nightclub where Prince’s Purple Rain was filmed for an all-night dance party in honour of the singer on Thursday, after the 57-year-old singer died in his Minneapolis home.

A sea of people gathered in front of First Avenue late Thursday. Local musicians played covers of his hits and the crowd danced and sang along.

First Avenue owner Dayna Frank says the dance party was planned to give people a place to share their emotions and celebrate Prince. Entry to the event is free.

Prince last played the club in 2007.

Filmmaker Spike Lee also drew a crowd of roughly 1,000 people for an impromptu street party in honour of Prince, presiding from the stoop of his Brooklyn headquarters in a purple T-shirt.

Fans brought their babies and their dogs, dancing to Prince’s music in front of Lee’s 40 Acres & A Mule production company. Police shut down the block for the celebration that was going strong late into Thursday night.

The mood was jubilant as people wearing touches of purple swayed and sang along. Some hoisted bouquets of purple flowers.

 

 

Earlier in the day, US President Barack Obama lamented the loss of a “creative icon” with the death of the singer.

In a statement, Obama called Prince “one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time” and that “nobody’s spirit was stronger, bolder or more creative” than Prince’s.

Minnesota senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken honoured Prince on the Senate floor with Klobuchar calling him “our neighbour, the superstar next door.”

 

 

Klobuchar recalled Prince holding a concert when Minnesota’s WNBA team won the championship. She said that “even with all that success, even with all that fame, Minnesota never lost that sense that he was a beloved son.”

Franken, a former Saturday Night Live comedian, said Prince’s “artistry, his innovation, his presence inspired and will continue to inspire millions of people.”

Prince’s sister thanked fans who showed up at his suburban Minneapolis compound home to mourn his death. Tyka Nelson, emerged from the compound early Thursday evening to look at bouquets, balloons and signs left by fans of her brother, then approached the crowd of nearly 200. She told the fans that her brother “loved all of you. Thank you for loving him back.”

Sheriff’s officials in Minnesota say deputies found Prince unresponsive in an elevator after they were summoned.

Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson says first responders tried CPR but couldn’t revive the musician. Olson says Prince was pronounced dead at 10.07am Thursday, about half an hour after deputies arrived. An autopsy was planned for Friday.

Carver County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Kamerud said foul play was “neither suspected nor not suspected.” He said he’s not sure how long it will take to process the death scene because of the size of the compound.

A transcript of the 911 call from the compound shows confusion as an unidentified caller struggles to give the dispatcher the proper address.

The caller said he was at “Prince’s house” but first placed it in Minneapolis. Another person at the compound eventually gave the correct address in the suburb of Chanhassen.

The caller first says he has “someone who is unconscious” before saying “the person is dead here.”

As the dispatcher identified the address as Paisley Park and began to ask a question, the caller interrupts to say, “Yes, it’s Prince.”Meanwhile, sales of Prince’s music soared since news of his death broke.

Three of his songs — Purple Rain, Little Red Corvette, and When Doves Cry — surged to seventh, ninth and 10th on iTunes’ Top Songs chart.

Four of his albums — The Very Best of Prince, Purple Rain, The Hits / The B-Sides and 1999 — jumped to first, second, third and eighth on iTunes’ Top Albums chart by Thursday afternoon.

Price’s publicist tells the AP he was found dead at his suburban Minneapolis home earlier Thursday.

The singer’s music catalogue, including last year’s HITNRUN Phase One & Two, was streaming on Tidal, another high-profile exclusive for the Jay Z-backed service. Other streaming services like Spotify and Rhapsody did not offer Prince’s songs.

Reaction is pouring in from fans and celebrities following the death of music superstar Prince.

Many celebrities took to Twitter to express their sadness Thursday. Basketball star Magic Johnson wrote that he was “so devastated by the passing of my good friend Prince.”

Director Spike Lee remembered Prince as “A Funny Cat” with a “Great Sense of Humor.”

The Reverend Jesse Jackson praised Prince for fighting for the freedom of artists and for himself, recalling the rocker’s skirmishes with the recording industry. Jackson says Prince “was a transformer.”