Cable networks are preparing tributes to R&B music icon Prince, who died suddenly Thursday afternoon (April 21).
The multiple Grammy-winning performer died in Minneapolis at age 57, according to CNN and other news outlets, shocking the music and entertainment world.
Fans and celebrities immediately took to social media to post tributes for Prince, and President Barack Obama joined in the mourning, issuing a statement soon after the news broke.
"Today, the world lost a creative icon," the president said. "Michelle and I join millions of fans from around the world in mourning the sudden death of Prince. Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly, or touched quite so many people with their talent. As one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time, Prince did it all. Funk. R&B. Rock and roll. He was a virtuoso instrumentalist, a brilliant bandleader, and an electrifying performer.
"'A strong spirit transcends rules,' Prince once said -- and nobody's spirit was stronger, bolder, or more creative," President Obama continued. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his band and all who loved him.”
Several cable networks also released statements on the his passing. BET released a statement saying the news “weighs heavily on our hearts,” adding that he was a “musical prodigy, a beautiful spirit and fashion provocateur who influenced American culture.” BET Chair and CEO Debra Lee took to Twitter, writing, "Saddened by the death of @Prince, a dear friend of mine & entire @BET family. Rest in Power, Purple King. #RIPPrince”
BET founder Robert L. Johnson also paid homage to Prince: "I will miss his idiosyncratic and quirky ways which fascinated me during the times we met when I was running BET, and of course his indelible imprint on the world of music. Purple Rain is falling all over the world today!"
MTV, which plans to refer to Prince’s death during its upfront presentation Thursday afternoon in New York and was airing the performer's music videos all afternoon, said in a statement it is “heartbroken and in utter disbelief at the news that the world has lost Prince Rogers Nelson so suddenly and so before his time."
"Prince was a once-in-a-lifetime artist who transcended every medium and genre he touched and created music with a passion and individuality that inspired multiple generations," the network said. "Our hearts and prayers go out to his family, friends and millions of fans."
John Eggerton also contributed to this story.
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