Prince cremated in private ceremony

Prince's publicist confirms that the former singer's body has been cremated in a small, private service 

Many of Prince's fans have left purple balloons and flowers outside his Paisley Park estate
Many of Prince's fans have left purple balloons and flowers outside his Paisley Park estate

Prince has been cremated with a small, private service for family, friends and musicians, his publicist has confirmed.

"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," Anna Meacham said.

She added that the singer’s “final storage” would be kept private.

Among the people who attended the ceremony were percussionist Sheila E, bassist Larry Graham and Prince's sister Tyka Nelson.

Prince, 57, was found dead in a lift on his Paisley Park estate, near Minneapolis, on Thursday.

He was last seen at about 8pm Wednesday night and was found unconscious by some of his staff at about 9:39am the following morning.

The cause of his death is still unknown and the results of Friday's autopsy could take at least four weeks. However, authorities said there was no sign of trauma on the body and no indication the death was suicide.

He had been rushed to hospital in Illinois six days earlier, while flying home from a concert in Georgia, but was treated and discharged a few hours later.

Quoting unnamed sources, US entertainment news site TMZ reported that Prince was treated for an overdose of the painkiller drug Percocet.

Prince, born Prince Rogers Nelson in 1958, was a prolific writer and performer from a young age - reportedly writing his first song when he was seven.

His innovative music spanned rock, funk and jazz. He was at his peak in the 1980s with albums like Dirty Mind, 1999 and Sign O' The Times. He sold more than 100m records.

In 1984, he won an Oscar for the score to Purple Rain, a film in which he also starred.

Throughout his career he had a reputation for secrecy and eccentricity, once changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol.

Prince's latest album, HITnRUN Phase Two, was released last year and he had been touring as recently as this month.

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