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Sheriff: Prince found unresponsive in elevator, CPR failed
Prince was unresponsive in an elevator when the musician was found by sheriff's deputies who had been called to his suburban Minneapolis compound, a Minnesota sheriff said Thursday.
Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson said deputies responded to a medical call about 9:43 a.m. Medical personnel tried CPR, but couldn't revive the 57-year-old Prince, who was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m.
A cause of death wasn't immediately determined. An autopsy was scheduled for Friday.
The singer's death came two weeks after he canceled concerts in Atlanta because he wasn't feeling well. He performed April 14 in Atlanta, apologizing to the crowd shortly after coming on stage.
Later on, while talking to the crowd between songs, he joked about having been "under the weather," giving a slight smile. His voice seemed a bit weak at times when he spoke, but he sounded fine when singing during his 80-minute show, which included everything from songs made famous by others ("Nothing Compares 2 U") to his finale to the first show of the evening, "Baby, I'm A Star."
He sat at his piano most of the show, but stood up at times to pound the keys and walked around the piano a couple of times, soaking up cheers.
Following news reports that he had fallen ill while returning from Atlanta to Minneapolis, Prince hosted a dance party on April 16 at his Paisley Park compound in Minnesota.
Jeremiah Freed, who runs the website drfunkenberry.com and has gotten to know Prince after writing about his events over the years, said he last saw Prince at the dance party. Freed said he believed Prince held the party to show everyone he was fine.
Freed didn't have one-on-one time with Prince that night, but Prince made a brief appearance. Freed said the artist showed off a new purple piano he received as a gift, as well as a purple guitar, but seemed upset about the reports of an illness.
"When he had to talk about the stories going on, he didn't seem too pleased. It was kind of like, 'I'm here. I'm good,'" Freed said, adding that Prince told the crowd: "Just wait a few days before saying your prayers."
Lars Larson, a 37-year-old Minneapolis man who had worked security for Prince and at Paisley Park events for about six years on and off, said he was at the same dance party. Larson said the singer was on stage briefly and spoke to the crowd before standing by the sound board for 20 minutes and then disappearing for the night.
"He seemed great. He looked like Prince," he said. "The whole point of the show on Saturday was to show he was doing all right."
Associated Press writers Paul Newberry in Atlanta and Kevin Burbach in Minneapolis contributed to this report, along with researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York.