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Prince death: Autopsy Friday as fans mourn music legend

Catherine E. Shoichet and Michael Pearson, CNN | 4/22/2016, 11:17 a.m.
A day after Prince's death stunned his fans and fellow musicians, the work of finding out why the music icon ...
Prince is pictured here as Christopher Tracy in the movie "Under the Cherry Moon." Warner Bros. Entertainment

(CNN) -- A day after Prince's death stunned his fans and fellow musicians, the work of finding out why the music icon died begins in earnest Friday.

An autopsy was scheduled Friday morning at the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office in Ramsey, Minnesota, but it could be days or weeks before results are complete, the agency said.

In the meantime, the agency said it "will not release information until the exam is complete and all results are obtained."

Prince, whose full name was Prince Rogers Nelson, died Thursday at age 57. He was found unresponsive in an elevator at his studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

Paramedics tried to perform CPR but were unable to revive him, authorities said. He was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m., less than 30 minutes after sheriff's deputies responded to a medical call at the scene.

An outpouring of grief followed as fans paid tribute to the singer who masterfully blended rock, R&B, jazz, funk and pop.

'Finality of a giant chapter'

In his home state of Minnesota, where he was a favorite native son, they wanted to remember Prince. And they did it in a way he probably would have approved of: They danced.

Tears fell freely as they blasted hits such as "Nothing Compares 2 U" and held impromptu dance parties decked out in Prince gear.

A sea of people in purple outfits lined the streets with purple flowers and stuffed animals.

"When I heard (the news of his death), it was like the finality of a giant chapter of my life knowing that there would be no more music," said Allison Werthmann-Radnich, who choked up on the streets of Minneapolis.

"Memories of Prince and his music are the background and cornerstone of pretty much every important event in my life. Prom, weddings, New Year's Eve celebrations, concerts at First Avenue and 7th Street Avenue."

She said she looked up to him for refusing to compromise his artistic integrity.

" And he had success because of it," she said.

In Minneapolis, crowds ranged in age from their 20s to their 80s. They sang, embraced and talked about how Prince showed the music industry you don't need to be from the East or West Coast to make it big.

Tributes pour in

Fans camped out by Paisley Park, the artist's home and recording studio, leaving bouquets of flowers and signs.

They also flocked to First Avenue, the downtown Minneapolis dance club that became a landmark after Prince used it in the 1984 movie "Purple Rain."

Asher Wade, 27, spent the day listening to Prince music with friends and came to First Avenue with a purple teardrop painted on his face.

"I grew up listening to his music," he said. "My parents loved him. I grew to love him. ... (It's) heartbreaking."

Beyond genres, generations

Prince's music transcended genres and generations. He defined the sound of the '80s with songs such as "Kiss" and "Purple Rain," and defied the music industry in a fight for creative freedom.

Fans rushed to record stores to pick up albums and other Prince memorabilia. Some said the icon's death "is what it sounds like when doves cry," a reference to his monster hit from 1984.