Share your thoughts and memories of Prince

Prince and 3RDEYEGIRL, 'CRAZY 2 COOL' (NPG Records)

Prince, the multitalented musician who came out of the Minneapolis scene and changed the world of music forever, has died at age 57.

As our Jay Gabler writes, Prince was one of the greatest stars in rock history; he bridged rock and R&B to fuse a "Minneapolis Sound" that helped define the music of the 1980s. With over 100 million albums sold worldwide, Prince is one of the best-selling artists of all time, widely cited as an influence by artists from the worlds of pop, R&B, rock, hip-hop, and beyond.

Born Prince Rogers Nelson in Minneapolis in 1958, Prince remained a lifelong Minnesotan and had a profound impact on the community here. With the hit movie and soundtrack Purple Rain, he turned First Avenue from a hot local club to an international music landmark.

The early '90s marked a crucial point of transition in Prince's career. He formed a fresh band -- the New Power Generation--and released music that increasingly delved into hip-hop, meeting with a mixed reception. If some fans started to sense an identity crisis, they were affirmed by Prince's 1993 decision to change his name to the unpronounceable glyph ("Love Symbol #2") that had served as the title to the 1992 album ironically containing the single "My Name is Prince." The 1993 release of a two-disc greatest hits collection also served to cap a remarkable run on the charts that ended with 1994's #3 hit "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," Prince's last single to date to crack the American top ten.

Releasing music both independently and through various short-term deals with major labels, in the late 90s and the first decade of the 2000s Prince released a flood of new material ranging from the obscure (the instrumental N.E.W.S. in 2003) to the consciously commercial (1999's Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic and 2006's 3121). He reclaimed his given name when his Warner Bros. publishing contract ended in 2000, and his widely-praised Super Bowl halftime show in 2007 proved to the largest possible audience that he was still a fiery live performer.

Prince was the first major artist to release an album on the Internet (1997's Crystal Ball) and from 2001-2006 ran the pioneering NPG Music Club to sell his music online by membership; but following the closure of that site, he became increasingly negative about the Internet, complaining that other sites (notably, YouTube) were benefiting by unauthorized circulation of his material. In an infamous 2010 statement, the online pioneer declared that "the Internet's completely over."

In the 2010s, Prince stepped back into the public eye in a way rarely seen since the '90s. He formed another new band -- the all-female 3RDEYEGIRL -- and played rapturously reviewed shows with them at venues ranging from Minnesota casinos to London living rooms. At the time of his death, Prince was writing a memoir, which was expected to be published next fall.

Share your thoughts and memories of Prince

Prince's music touched lives in Minnesota and around the world. As we remember Prince, we're asking you to share your thoughts and memories of the music legend. We'll feature some of your comments on the air and publish them on our website.

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Your Comments


I've seen 3 genuinely charismatic people in person: Bob Marley, the Pope, and Prince. In 1984, saw Prince perform his Purple Rain concert. It was a once in a lifetime event. My advice is to never give up a chance to see a favorite performer in person. I'm 66 years old and am sad to say that if they have passed away, I've seen them. I'm heartbroken .


The world will be a little less colorful now that Prince is gone.


I picked Purple Rain as a surprise for my mom for the groom/mother of groom dance at my wedding reception. Such a special moment.


Prince was one of our own, made us so proud, and yet he always felt within reach. He never let us think or feel that he outgrew us. Soar with the doves, dear one!


My friend growing up was the biggest Prince fan, that when her now husband pulled up for their first date in a purple car, she knew he was the man for her.


I've lived in Minnesota for almost 20 years, but this the first time I've felt like a real Minnesotan. The world has lost a musician. Our generation has lost part of our childhood. But our community has lost its cultural patron saint, its biggest cheerleader, and coolest, most quirky friend.

Brett in St. Paul

My first Prince memory was listening to a cassette of '1999.' I created a dance routine to "Delirious" and I would dance at the store where my mom worked until she was done for the day.


I lost part of my childhood today. Love and peace to you my friend. You will be so missed. In our hearts forever.

Nick in Minneapolis

I grew up in a house filled with music. … My brother told me I had to hear this new album. He only played "I got a broken heart again", and "When you were mine." At nine years old I thought, "This is real and out there?" Then when I found out he was from here — right here in Minneapolis — well, that was it. The world popped.


I was always so proud that he was from Minnesota and also of the way he stayed true to our state. His music has always been a mainstay of my collection. I think I've had Prince dance parties with all my kids at one point or another … His music has been such a big part of my life as I am sure you can all relate. Such a sad loss to the music world.

Karen in Lake Wales, Fla.

I was at every Prince concert there was when I was younger. He embodied the full-circle musician and had God-given talents that only very few elite artist will ever possess. R.I.P. Sweet Prince.


Prince was innovative and creative and erotic. I'm dreaming today of being young and dancing all night, wearing my hair in my face and lots of lace and purple. So lucky to been alive during his REIGN.

George in Minneapolis

I had the opportunity to see at Dakota unexpectedly a few years ago and will never forget the experience. To me he was far more than the music he made, he was a GREAT person. I truly feel sad that he is no longer here.


I remember the first time I heard amd saw Prince, it was "Little Red Corvette" on Solid Gold. My jaw dropped to the floor and stayed there even after it was over, and I was hooked for life. He opened this magical door for me. I loved him for it. Part of me died with him today. I'm so very sad.


Prince opened my eyes and my heart in a way no other artist ever has or will. His unmatched talent, creative artistry, and ability to push boundaries for the greater good of us all, will never again be seen or known. Human life is fleeting, but music is forever. Prince is forever.


I was in Prague in 1989, and when I got off the train, I was greeted by Russian soldiers on street corners with nasty-looking guns and the streets were devoid of people. It was an intense situation. I found a hotel, unloaded my stuff then left to check out the city. I was a bit worried, but when I stepped out onto the street, "Raspberry Beret" was playing loudly from a speaker in front of the hotel. This sign from home made me feel that I would be fine.


It was in the early 2000s. I was at MSP on my way to LAX. It was a later flight, and the airport was quiet. One of those airport transport carts went whizzing past me. I looked up and locked eyes with the biggest, brownest eyes I've ever seen. It was Prince. My whole world stopped. I felt like he saw into my soul. I didn't breathe for probably a minute.

Chris in Winnipeg

Prince was playing the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, and my wife and I got a sitter for the kids so we could go to the show. After the opening number, Prince said something to the effect of, "Better call the babysitter ... we're going to be here all night." Thankfully we had got a sitter, because we were there all night. Definitely one of the best concert experiences of my life.


Growing up in Waconia, Minn., we would drive past Paisley Park every time we came to the Twin Cities and I would imagine Prince in his studio like a mad scientist in a lab, creating things to change the world. Knowing he chose to stay in Carver County fills me with pride. Today, Minnesota lost an icon, but his music will continue to inspire.


Ever since I was a 16-year-old Army brat living in Germany in 1984, I have had dreams of Prince. I dreamed that he played my prom and pulled me up on stage. I dreamed of driving down the street in Minneapolis, having him roll up next to me in a purple sports car of some kind, waving me to join him, and driving to Paisley Park.
In waking life, I was lucky enough to see him perform at the Mill City Music Festival in Minneapolis in 1999. My heart is broken. Rest in Peace, O Purple One.


My parents saw Purple Rain on their honeymoon, and that set up a legacy for my childhood to be filled with His Purple Majesty. Growing up, it was mostly "my parents' music" until I returned from three years of teaching in South Korea after college. I was thrilled to be back home, and Prince became an embodiment of that. The year I had "L'etoile du Nord" tattooed on my foot was the same year I waited in line for about 14 hours to see Prince at Paisley Park. He opened with "1999," told us that Purple Rain was Minneapolis' song, and I was officially never the same.


At my high school graduation, I had to give a speech. On a dare, I began the speech by with the opening of "Let's Go Crazy": "To paraphrase the artist known as Prince: Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate this thing called life." The people who laughed, who smirked, who got it — that's who I'll see in the afterworld.


A dear friend of mine from high school loved him more than anything. She, sadly, took her own life many years ago, and today I am thinking of her and the many memories that Prince's music gave us. Here's hoping the music continues in the stars and they can go on dancing in the heavens.


If there were a soundtrack to my life, Prince's music would span most of it from the time I was a fetus to age 11 when I left Minneapolis. After that, it was a constant reminder of my family, my community and my city. I'll always love his music because it reminds me of who I am.


"Always in my Hair" is one of the songs my husband and I fell in love to. We even walked down the aisle to "I wanna be your lover". Heaven got a whole lot funkier today.


Prince was my first-ever live concert. It was in June of 2004, and my mom had tickets to go with her friends, but one of them canceled. She obviously wasn't going to let a Prince concert ticket go to waste, so she brought me. I was only 13 years old. We sat all the way up in the nosebleeds, but that didn't affect the fun and colorful show Prince put on that night. I will never forget it.


Prince was the embodiment of musical innovation who lifted hearts throughout his long, storied career. I hope, too, he'll be remembered for his dedication to fighting for creative freedom. A protean talent gone all too soon.


Prince was one of my favorite guitarists ever! Watch his solo on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame from a few years back. This is maybe the greatest Rock guitar solo ever, and I will stand by that quote. Goodnight sweet, Prince.


Prince saved my butt when I was in a dark place; his music pulled me out. I remember the song to this day, I was working on a painting (one of my favorites), and his genius touched something in me and helped me find joy in my life. I am looking at that painting right now and crying. I am heartbroken.


My wife had a button of Prince (Dirty Mind era) pinned to her bouquet when we got married because I dared her to find a place for it in our decorations. After that we'd joke about how Prince was at our wedding. Tomorrow we're celebrating our 10th anniversary, and needless to say, it will be bittersweet.


My heart is heavy today. I'm wearing purple tomorrow, in mourning. Can we just close Minnesota tomorrow? We all need a day off off, I think.


Though I'm currently only 22 years old, I grew up listening to Prince. I adored his music. I knew all the words to "1999" by the time I was 12; my sister and I would clean our house to his music, making the chore much more fun by lip-syncing and trying to reach his falsetto, doing interpretive dances to "When Doves Cry" with our brooms. I have a Prince-sized hole in my heart. As a Minnesotan, he'll always be close to my heart. Rest in Peace Prince of Purple.


I was young, probably 15, and I was at the airport and the crowd cleared, like Moses parting the Red Sea, and here came a little man, dressed in purple from head to toe, holding a purple staff with his symbol on the top, sprinting down the airport hallway with three HUGE bodyguards trying to keep up with him. He made eye contact with me and smiled. It was one of those moments where I froze and said out loud, "Was that...? Was that HIM?" and I couldn't move. It was so exciting. His music changed my world.


I am a true and loyal fan, and I will miss you. Just knowing you're no longer here makes this world a sadder place. You won't be popping up and pleasantly surprising us on the television anymore. RIP Prince Rogers Nelson; I love you! I'm blowing you a kiss.


I saw Prince live at The Forum in Los Angeles on my fifth date with my husband. Prince played for hours -- through five encores (he played the final in white silk pajamas). Sheila E, Stevie Wonder and Janelle Monae were all part of the show, and Prince was just transcendent, making the music and the show a visceral, emotional experience. I'll never forget it, and I'm so glad I got to share it with my favorite person.


Prince saved my life so many times. In all my darkest hours, he was there to comfort me with his voice and music. I was fortunate to see his genius on four separate occasions. He was such a big part of my life. I am beyond devastated. RIP my sweet Prince.


How does one grow up and come of age in Minnesota in the mid- to late 80s and experience young adulthood in the 90s without Prince's music or exploits as cultural reference points? I learned about sex through his music, I learned about loss, poetry, celebration and art. I learned that Minnesota was more diverse than my white, suburban world -- that was pretty mind-blowing for my 17-year-old self. Prince taught me that people can and (and do!) re-invent themselves as they go through life. He taught me about acceptance, and that sometimes, you can love someone even if you don't like or understand their choices.

Andrea, Welch, Minn.

What a tragic loss to music, Minnesota, and the world. I called him an artist and that is exactly what he was, more than a musician, he made you feel everything through his music, whether it was the words or a simple guitar riff you felt it all: peace, anger, love, happy, sexy, joy, frustration, everything. ... These words can never do him justice, or truly explain the joy I felt every time I would hear one of his songs on the radio. I always thought maybe I would get the chance to meet him someday, and I guess that someday will just have to be in the next life.


I've grown up with Prince and his talent literally my whole life. He strongly contributed to my love of music and guitar. While I'm devastated I missed my chance to see him live, I will always have the memories of dancing and perfecting my air guitar skills with my siblings listening to Prince's music on our dad's jukebox.

Julie, Miami Beach (originally from Minneapolis)

My first concert I ever went to was one of the "unannounced" concerts at First Avenue when I was 13. In those days, kids could easily get into bars if their parents were with them. My parents were quite the sports to bring me to the show. The Cars were playing that night as well; they were in the audience at First Avenue right after their show, and I found Ric Ocasek standing next to me. After the concert, when there was the parking inside next to First Avenue, there were about five of us who waited for him. We were standing next to his car. Prince walked right in front of me. I couldn't believe I stood right next to him. Pretty awesome for a 13-year-old starstruck girl.


Prince is everything to my music sensibilities. I am so profoundly sad that he's gone. Rest in Peace, Prince. You're the reason the "After Life (will be) a world of never ending happiness. You can always see the sun."

Lara, Bemidji, Minn.

One of my last and most lasting memories will be at Paisley Park when we sang "Love is God / God is love / Boys and girls love God above" in a near whisper with Prince. It was powerful and beautiful. I cried as I left that night because I wanted that beauty to be around forever and knew that isn't how life works. My times at Paisley Park are amongst the most precious memories of my life.

Lisa, Golden Valley, Minn.

Back in 1984, I was in high school and on every bus ride to and from sporting events we played the hell out of the Purple Rain cassette. I'm pretty sure we burned through a couple of them that year. It was nonstop singing along the entire time. And it was a top 10 album on my list, for sure!

Kaitlyn, Minnetonka, Minn.

In 2007, my synchronized skating team used only Prince music. All of us on the team, aged 12 to 18, fell in love with it. No one besides us believed our team could amount to anything. Prince helped us prove them wrong. We even made it to Nationals that year, our first year doing so. We have never had a better season. Prince made us feel the music through our bodies. His music changed us, and brought us together as a team. He made us believe in ourselves. He made us better. He made us believe that underdogs like us could be so much more than what people expected us to be. That's his magic. That is what his music does.

Jo, Minneapolis

My fondest memory was the concert at the Capri Theatre, when Prince first signed with Warner Brothers. How proud his community was of the shy guy from North Minneapolis, making it big. Like so many, my heart is heavy, and I feel like this is one horrible nightmare. Words cannot truly begin to express the impact this man made on the world. Yet, while he will be missed, he must never be forgotten. He made Minnesota proud, and blessed Minneapolis - Northside!

Prasanna, Maple Grove, Minn.

Listening to Prince was like coming home.

Veronica, Portland, Ore.

On a trip to Europe, my now-husband and I rented a car to drive around, but we did not bring any cords to plug in our iPods and could never quite figure out what radio stations were out there. We ended up going to a used record and CD store and stumbled across a best of Prince three-disc set. As we drove through the countryside and along the Mediterranean, we listened to nothing but Prince, and we both fell in love with his music and wondered how did we not realize this sooner. Our love of Prince extended to our wedding: We hired a local Prince cover band, aptly named Erotic City, here in Portland for our reception, and our first dance was to "Adore." It was an amazing night, and we had so much fun. Our guests danced all night and sang to every song. My 85-year-old grandmother danced arm-in-arm with my cousin for much of it. Prince is loved across generations, and his music is timeless.

Kim, Marshalltown, Iowa

As a kid in the 1980s, Prince provided the soundtrack to my life; 1999 seemed a lifetime away! I can remember going to First Avenue in the late '80s, just hoping that he might make an unannounced appearance. The world lost a good one today. My heart is breaking.

Heather, Minneapolis

One of my favorite moments of Prince was in college, at a Paisley Park party. We were all dancing and having a great time when Prince walked out on stage. Said nothing. Picked up his guitar and began playing. The only noise heard were riffs bursting forth from his strings. We were all mesmerized by the artistry happening before us. When he was done, he gently put down his guitar, turned and walked off stage.
Play on, purple one in heaven. You will be missed on earth.

Yvonne, Den Bosch, Netherlands

Prince has been connected to my adult life since early 1983. His music means so much to us that we named our son, Nelson, after him.

Marsha, Minneapolis

I spent a summer with Prince at Moon Sound Studio. We were both 17 years old, and he was preparing to record his first album. I watched "Soft and Wet" being written. He was the sweetest, soft spoken, and most talented person I have ever known. Years later, he mentioned my name near the end of "Let's Pretend We're Married." I always wondered if he meant me. Now I'll never know. We lost a beautiful man today. I am heartbroken.

Tom, Dallas

In 2007, I was in the sports bar at Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. Prince played the halftime show under lighting instruments that I helped to design. I stand there weeping as he plays Purple Rain in the pouring rain. I hear later from the crew at the gig that they gave him he option not to play because of the lights, rain, high voltage, etc. He did not hesitate. "No way I'm missing this" is the quote I heard. Prince literally risked his life for that performance. RIP.

Heather, Cincinnati

I can't even express how many tough moments his music got me through. I was lucky enough to see him perform twice and am thankful to God that I took advantage of it. "The Cross" is my favorite song of all time. Prince could make you cry, laugh, dance and JAM -- all in one song! And the music he spawned -- amazing. This is a very sad day.

Jean, Plymouth, Minn.

When I was in seventh grade, my sister and I received Prince's Purple Rain album for Christmas. She and I spent hours in our room blasting the record and singing along to every song. I remember when it came to "Darling Nikki" -- my mother burst through the door and demanded we turn it off ... So we turned it up louder. I have so many great memories of his music. This is a very sad day.

Brandi, Minneapolis

My little girl and I danced to Prince from the time she could walk. Prince is not only iconic to the world, but our home has always been filled with memories that make him legendary personally. So very sad.

Chris, Minnetonka, Minn.

In the fall of 1981, I brought Controversy back to my hometown, and my punk rock and new wave buddies were like, what? And then they heard it.

Stan, Cherry Hill, N.J.

I keep a copy of Purple Rain in my car at all times. I just never know when I might need it.

M., Andover, Mass.

In 2010, I held my precious newborn daughter close to me while listening to Prince's cover of "A Case Of You" over and over and over again, feeling like no other song could adequately express my joy and my love. Thank you, Prince!

Abby, Brooklyn, N.Y.

I am sad beyond words at the loss of Prince, the Purple One, the Artist Formerly Known As … At 16, when I went to take my driving exam, the evaluator let me put on some music to help me relax. I put on Prince, and he and I bonded while I passed my exam to "Raspberry Beret." A memory and person I'll never forget.

Tom, Morris, Minn.

I never met him, never even saw him play live, but I idolized Prince. His songs were dangerous, especially to a 17-year-old kid from rural southwestern Minnesota in 1984. He made it cool to follow your own path, to dare to be different, as did David Bowie.
Prince's musical genius was undeniable. The passion, the style, the raw emotion, the total commitment. When I left the state to attend college in Arizona, I found that Prince made Minnesota a cool place to be from.

Laura, Hopkins, Minn.

Only saw him perform once, at the Xcel Energy Center. Sprung for fourth-row seats. Spent the entire concert with my jaw dropped at the sheer virtuosity displayed.

Deb, Duluth, Minn.

Prince was my first concert at the old Met in Bloomington, Minn.; I will never forget how exciting he was, not only to listen to, but to see him dance! He was amazing!!! Love him forever...

Adam, Erie, Pa.

Prince's influence on the industry, on society and so much more — I would have loved to have met with him and just talked.

Joanne, Monterey Park, Calif.

I remember seeing Prince at six of the 25 shows he did in Los Angeles. For $25, it was the hottest ticket in town in 2011. He was amazing, played like the icon he is. Opening night, he was on the stage for 3 1/2 hours, wowing the crowd with hit after hit. I'll never forget how he changed my love of music, how if you really listened, he was sharing a message of love and happiness. We will never forget you, Prince; your music will live on forever!

Jonathan, Minneapolis

I went to one of the "surprise" shows during Prince's six-night residency at the Dakota Jazz Club in 2013. It was a dance party. Late in the night, I secured a spot next to the stage and glanced through a space between the curtain blocking the backstage hallway. I saw Prince (he must've been 10 to 20 feet away) leaning against the wall and smiling while he was being announced for a short-lived, and excellent, encore with his new band. I won't forget that moment.

John, Plymouth, Minn.

One thing I've often said about Prince is that if you're feeling sad or upset, just sing along to a Prince song ("Kiss" being a personal favorite). It will make you feel better, guaranteed. That was one of his many gifts. Very sad today. I'm going to go sit in my car and sing along to some Prince.

Douglas, Minneapolis

Like so many others, I have great memories of his amazing music and also of meeting Prince twice. The most memorable was in 1986 at Rudolph's BBQ at 2 a.m., when three purple Volvo limos rolled up. It was just me and my girlfriend, Prince, Lisa and Wendy in the entire place. Peace to Prince!

Laurie, Milwaukee

I remember in 1982 going to Minneapolis from central Wisconsin with some friends. We waited in the alley behind First Avenue and were able to actually see Prince ride up for a concert on his motorcycle There will never be another like the Purple One. RIP

Alicia, Baltimore

I was blessed to attend one Prince concert in my lifetime. I was amazed at the people, all ages, races, nationalities just out to have a good time and that is definitely what he gave us. He brought so many people together with the sheer joy of his music. Prince, you will be greatly missed.

Laura, Cottage Grove

The first concert I ever attended was the Purple Rain tour in 1984. I was 15 years old. Donned in Black leather and lace and of course, purple tights. It was the highlight of my youth. I collected each album from Dirty Mind up to Diamonds and Pearls. I still have them all. And cassette tapes. Prince truly laid down the soundtrack of my funky youth. He was a consummate musician and there never was, nor will there ever be another as truly musically gifted as he. I feel like a part of my youth died a little today. Prince, you will be truly missed. I Wish You Heaven


The last time I saw him, in Washington D.C. at the Warner Theater last year, with Stevie Wonder as a surprise guest -- thought the place would levitate -- he was a crowd pleasing passionate performer.

Teresa, Detroit Lakes

In 1989 a shy senior waited until the last song at the high school formal to ask an awkward freshman to dance. The song the DJ chose was Purple Rain. I'm 41 now, and he's 44 ... but it's still our song.

Anthony, Jenner, Calif.

As a young man Prince helped teach me how to Love, Respect, Honor, and Cherish Women.

Marty, Minneapolis

I was lucky enough to see Prince perform at the Northrop Auditorium when he changed his name back to Prince after being the "sign" for so many years, it was a big deal! I swear that concert was four hours long, it was incredible! He just kept going and going and there were so many special guests coming up on stage with him, there was never a dull moment! He was a true performer, visionary and a musical genius, there is no doubt that musicians will continue to be inspired by his legacy of work for generations.

Matthew, St. Paul, Minn.

I remember hearing "Batdance" on a city bus in Jerusalem in the Summer of 1989. There were weird Hebrew-language overdubs, but my best friend and I went bonkers hearing it. We were two Minnesota kids whose entire relationship was laid out to a Prince-fueled soundtrack. There we were, halfway across the planet, hearing one of his strangest tracks, playing on Israeli radio.

Gary, St. Paul, Minn.

Prince was in every way one of us. In this day [instant celebrities], it's hard to remember how hard it was to break out of Minneapolis - flyover land - in the 1970s, when major record labels on the coasts controlled everything. So it's a testament to his towering talent and drive that Prince became a star - and stayed one - while living in Minneapolis. And even though he could have lived and worked anywhere, he stayed here, working with other local musicians and creating an epicenter for talent in Paisley Park. Prince lived and worked the way he wanted to - on his own terms.

Rachel, Ellerslie, Ga.

Prince brought light into my life, even in the darkest of times, since the tender age of 5 years old. I've seen him perform three times, with the last show being what would be his last performance on this Earth in Atlanta -- it was the April 14, 10 p.m. show. He even played "Purple Rain" for us, which I will cherish forever. I feel this was my opportunity to say goodbye, even though I didn't know it yet. I was in the front row, and managed to touch his hand; the most legendary and talented hand I will touch in my entire life. Prince was and will always be the biggest inspiration in my life; most of all, he taught me to be proud of who I am.

Jane, St. Louis Park, Minn.

We lost a Minnesota Treasure in the loss of the legend Prince. I remember his soulful eyes dancing inches from him at Sheik's and Pacific Club in the late '80s ... amazing how he enjoyed the Twin Cities nightlife out on the town.

Olivia, St. Cloud, Minn.

The very first vinyl in my reach was Purple Rain. It was my mother's, but it might as well have been mine. I was in first grade, living in a very broken home and his music kept my spirits up in the hardest of times. I was just a child; I didn't fully understand what was going on, I didn't fully understand my parents' addiction. I didn't fully understand Prince's lyrics. Regardless, he had a way of taking me out of a terrible situation through his artistry, and for that I am forever grateful. As I've grown up, my love for him and his music has grown and will continue to grow after his passing. I am devastated by the news of his death. The world has lost a gem, a purple gleaming gem that was truly one of a kind and priceless.

Donald, Tacoma, Wash.

A true musical genius in every sense of the word. In his music, Prince combined spirituality and sexuality like no one else, in a way that never felt clumsy or dishonest. He could go from loving God to experiencing orgasm in a single breath. He will live forever in our hearts.

Catherine, Murrieta, Calif.

Prince helped a lot of University of Minnesota students get through the school year in the early 80s and 90s -- dancing and listening to his music was our way to let go of the stresses of academic life! RIP Prince.

Charlene, Denver

I saw Prince twice in Denver; the first time, we had lawn-space tickets which was standing room only at Fiddler's Green Amphitheater, which was an outstanding show. I remember we passed around the binoculars to bring him close. I went wild when he brought out the Purple piano and my daughter and daughter in law were excited like me when they got their turn at the binoculars. The next time we went to the Pepsi Center in style — in a limousine and all with my granddaughters, daughter and son. One of these granddaughters named her son Prince; so I still have a Prince who loves to sing and dance. I'm sad, yet the memories are good.

Antonia, Zagreb, Croatia

I've grown up with you, Prince; I've cried and laughed with you, felt the deepest emotions and discovered the beauty in your music. It was the journey of my life and I'm so happy that I shared it with you ... now, I am sharing all that with my nine-year-old son. R.I.P.

Janet, Garland, Texas

I am so shocked and saddened to hear about the death of this wonderful, talented, gifted and outstanding human being we know as Prince. I was only able to see him perform once, when Purple Rain came out — and he turned that mother out! He will be forever in my heart, albeit it a broken one. Rest in peace, my brother and Royal Highness.

Graham, Princeton, N.J.

I used to be an auto mechanic in Eden Prairie, Minn., and occasionally we worked on Prince's BMWs. I still remember test-driving his bright-purple 1980s 6 Series BMW, and feeling really cool and slightly embarrassed. The car really stuck out, just like the man himself. RIP.

Adam, St. Paul, Minn.

Prince was and is more to me than words can describe. For four decades his music punctuated my life. His funk made me dance. His honesty inspired paying closer attention to my own truth. His commitment to his creativity strengthened my own. And he spoke to important issues: homophobia, domestic violence, AIDS, guns, racism, war, hate, and always called us to peace and love. Thank you Prince. RIP

Jessica, Minneapolis

RIP to a true artist and fellow Minnesotan. So grateful to live here and frequent the legendary first avenue and know of the sightings and surprise shows & after dark dance parties. He was such a great neighbor and influential part of our city even though so few knew him personally.

Julia, Honolulu

1999 was my first cassette tape. It formed my early musical taste and I have loved Prince ever since. My fondest memory is seeing him in front of me in line at the Minneapolis airport. He threw his high-heeled shoes into the bin like everyone else and they lit up! Too great. We've lost an amazing artist.

Henry, Cape Town, South Africa

My hero — thank you, Prince, for all your music and for being part of me.

Michelle, St. Paul, Minn.

Prince was a master painter whose chosen medium was sound.

James, Stockton-on-Tees, England

When I was a kid in school, I was petrified that people would laugh at me if I told them I played guitar. Then a friend of mine played me a song called "Sister" written by a man wearing bikini bottoms, and I never worried about what other people thought about me ever again. I am devastated by the loss of one of the greatest bassists/guitarists/drummers/keyboardists/vocalists in the history of recorded music. There will never be, nor has there ever been anyone else quite like Prince. His song-craft will play on inside each of us for an eternity.

Joseph, Hugo, Minn.

When I was a little kid (probably 7 years old) I did well on a report card and had the choice between getting "Purple Rain" on cassette or a new calculator. I'm glad I chose that Purple Rain tape! It served me much better (although my math skills were suspect for a few years)! In 1999 I moved to the Twin Cities and within a couple of weeks saw Prince for the first time in concert at the Mill City Music Festival. What a great way to be welcomed to the Twin Cities! RIP Prince

Rebecca, Minneapolis

At age 16, I was dancing at Glam Slam in Minneapolis. The music stopped, I turned around and there he was, Prince, on stage, ready to sing a few songs. Everyone on the dance floor went absolutely CRAZY!

Julie, Boston

As a newly sober teenager, I learned how to dance without drugs and alcohol to the music of Prince. I felt dirty and sexy and alive. I wanted to be the girl in the little red corvette AND the raspberry beret. He was a huge, creative talent in a tiny body. Rest in peace, Prince. You will forever be part of the soundtrack of my life. Thank you for the music.

Stephanie, Minneapolis

A long time ago, there was a local video show on Saturday nights after SNL. It was probably 1980 or so, and I was around 12. On came this guy wearing a trench coat and G-string. He kind of scared me and freaked me out, but I liked the song. It was big stuff for a small-town girl.

Tobrina, Highland Park, Ill.

Thank you Prince. Our dances were the best because of you. Your genderless messages made your music insanely sexy and spiritual, and it has flowed only more meaningfully through the years. I miss you already. Peace and many blessings, my kindred spirit.

Woody, Minneapolis

I spent the summer of 1983 mowing lawns in south Minneapolis with 1999 as the only tape in my Sony Walkman. "Lady Cab Driver" became my favorite, and to this day, the song brings a smile to my face, and it brings memories of that epic summer to my head and soul. While I was discovering Hüsker Dü, the 'Mats and Soul Asylum soon after, Prince became a constant in my tape/CD collection. I plan on dusting them off once again in tribute to a musical genius gone way to soon.

Aishah, Atlanta

My entire life has a music bed — and it's all PRINCE music. There might be a few Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway songs mixed in, but by far it's the sonic energy of Prince Rogers Nelson that made me feel sane, healthy and worthy when my life was overwhelming and nuts. I'm sad about Prince, but it helps to know that there are millions of other people who will miss him, too. Thank you Minnesota Public Radio for the incredible coverage, another reason I love public TV and radio.

Erika, Minneapolis

I'm a dental hygienist, and about one year ago, I was cleaning a woman's teeth, and noticed she had light-purple-colored fillings on her back teeth — she explained she loved Prince so much in her younger years, she had the dentist place purple fillings on her back teeth!

José, Lafayette, La.

I was in my early teens living in Mobile, Ala., when Prince, The Time, and Vanity 6 performed at the Municipal Auditorium. My friends and I were heavily into his music, and I pleaded with my mother to let me go. She needed to hear some his music before she gave me permission (I was 13!). Long story short ... I saw him in New Orleans during the Purple Rain tour when I was a senior.

Allie, Oakland, Calif.

Prince was my first love; my love for music started with him. I first saw him when I was 16, in Phoenix during his Purple Rain tour. Now at 50, my husband and I miraculously got tickets to his "Prince, A Piano and a Mic" tour. The venue was the Paramount in Oakland, the very first leg of the tour. We had third row, center. Seeing my first love with my only love was amazing. It was Heaven, pure Heaven. I love you Prince.

Karole, Ogden, Utah

I was fortunate enough to have seen Prince eight times... each one better than the previous. He shaped my life through music. RIP old friend

Nicky Horton (of the band Faux Jean), Minneapolis

Prince changed my life with Purple Rain. I was 12. I got it on vinyl and cassette that year for Christmas. My name is Nicky, so naturally "Darling Nikki" was my favorite song, even though I was too young to understand what the heck it meant — ha!
I declared that someday I would move to Minneapolis and perform at First Avenue. I'm happy to say that my dreams did come true. I even got to perform "Let's Go Crazy" with my beloved band, Faux Jean, on the main stage. Other than the birth of my beautiful daughter, it was by far the best day of my life. All thanks to the mighty Purple One. RIP Prince Rogers Nelson. Let's go Crazy!!

Melissa, Minneapolis

Got kicked out of my school's drill team twice, for using "inappropriate" Prince songs for our routines (worth it!). Apparently "Darling Nikki" and "D.M.S.R." were too racy for high school basketball halftime entertainment. R.I.P.

Cheyenne, Swanville, Minn.

I lost a piece of myself today ... the first song I ever heard of Prince's songs was "When Doves Cry" and i will forever miss Prince. He was a great role model.

Bridget, Minneapolis

My parents were in the middle of a divorce and my older sister and I had to once again share a room, which she had plastered with Prince posters everywhere, and so he was there through a lot of emotional times. We had a chance to see him in 2006, and I cried all the way through Purple Rain, and while my friends made fun of me, my sister got it. I just really loved Prince; he always made me feel better.

Don, Los Angeles

My sister and I grew up down Highway 7, west of Excelsior, Minn.; if you cut across to Highway 5, a couple miles down the road was Paisley Park. Although I drove past it for years and years, I never saw a show or ever caught a glimpse of Prince. My sister recently learned that our phone number was one number different from the Paisley Park studio number. This finally explains how one day, I ended up talking to a rabid fan from Germany who insisted we become pen pals.

Regina, Brooklyn, N.Y.

First time I heard Prince, I was young and too little to understand what I was hearing. My mom played Little Red Corvette and When Doves Cry constantly and my love for him came from watching how happy it made her.

My dad introduced me to Purple Rain a few years later. We played the album constantly and I watched the film religiously. In high school, I started exploring more of his work and became obsessed with the albums Dirty Mind, Sign O The Times, and Lovesexy — they sounded like nothing I'd heard before.

Nowadays, he's just become a part of me, a constant factor in my life, a love I've proudly worn and expressed and discussed with whoever would listen. When the news broke, I was on the subway and the minute I got service, I was bombarded with messages asking if I heard, if I was okay. I read of his passing while listening to him and I was shaken and devastated. It feels like a piece of me is suddenly missing, gone.

I was lucky enough to see Prince live and he is a performer in the highest degree, a showman who commands the stage, that creates magic when he straps on a guitar. The sensation was numbing, in a beautiful way, and I never wanted it to end.

I just wanted to thank you again for doing this, for taking time to create a place for fans to share and gather and listen, to celebrate his life and his incredible work.

Jennifer, Stockton, Calif.

I was 11 years old (this was in the early '80s) and my parents had left me in the care of an adult family friend for the weekend. She had little to no rules, and had no clue what to do with me, so she took me to the local video store and let me rent whatever I wanted. I have no memory of the other videos I got, but I remember the Prince concert video! I had never watched a concert on video before that time — I just knew I loved Prince. Although I don't remember every part of that concert, two things have stayed with me until this very day: 1) those cheekless chaps he wore so damn well, and 2) how much older and alive I felt. Prince was an amazing artist who will be greatly missed and always cherished. Thank you, Prince, RIP.

Michael, Austria

Mein Herz weint. Der für mich beste Musiker ist nicht mehr unter uns. 100000 Worte könnten nicht sagen, wie traurig ich bin. Danke für die wohl beste Liveperformance bei jedem Konzert das ich erleben durfte. Danke für jeden Song! Luv You Forever. Ruhe in Frieden.
Translation of above, courtesy Maren Kloppmann:
My heart is weeping. My top favorite musician is no longer with us. A hundred thousand words cannot describe how sad I am. Thank you for the best live performance in every concert I got to see. Thank you for every song! Love you forever. Rest in peace.

Erik, Lino Lakes, Minn.

When I learned of this, I was in a fog, devastated. Then, I started listening to The Current and they were playing music off of For You, Prince, Dirty Mind and Controversy. I was rockin'. Those are my songs. They helped me find various parts of myself and helped me express myself. They got me energized for basketball. They ranged so many emotions in one album.

Then, The Current started playing 1999 and got to Automatic. With the long outro, it really started hitting me. Even as I am currently listening to DMSR, which is one of my favorite Prince songs, I feel a tremendous loss.

I've been listening to a lot of Prince over the last number of weeks and came out with a couple realizations.

1. My children will not have the experience of sitting in their room and going through an album - the ENTIRE album - and take from it something that is their own. Dirty Mind was a radio hit, but Uptown and the rest of the second side (Head, Sister and Partyup) really rocked my world. Bambi followed right up by Still Waiting is amazing. Jack U Off on Controversy will NEVER be played on radio (I was surprised you all played Sexy MF a few days ago - at least most of it), but the juxtaposition of the lyrics with a great rockabilly sound is incredible. Our kids will only listen to playlists of hits and never really get to form beliefs and opinions through the deeper tracks of an artist.

2. When I first listened to Prince, I was taken by the emotion of the songs and internalized them. As a teenager, the various facets of the songs took me to so many places and helped me feel more comfortable in expressing myself and feel different ways - angry, political, sexual, happy, sad, funky. Now, as I hear him, I remember those feelings and still have them, but I hear the musical nuances that really made this musician truly special.

When David Bowie died, I wondered how I'd feel when Prince died. I couldn't fathom it. I can now.

I've seen RIP in many tweets. Prince won't RIP. He will be rockin', rollin' and funkin' it up - living the next life in a way no other can.

Prince Rogers Nelson - find Jimmy and James and make heaven a truly funkalicious place.

Alecia, Plymouth, Minn.

"Baby I'm a Star" gave me so much confidence and motivation while I was growing up. Prince also made Minneapolis so cool. What a loss to our great city, state and to the world; 57 is so young.

Anne, formerly of St. Paul, Minn.

Prince was such an integral part of growing up in St. Paul and of my memories of high school. How lucky to have had him as our hometown (Minnesota) hero. My mom even remarked that a part of MN heritage is lost with his passing. RIP Prince

Kelly, Blaine, Minn.

In the late '90s, I was working as a telephone repairperson. While I was in training, my mentor and I got called out to Paisley Park, though we didn't know that's what it was from the information on the ticket. It was a non-descript building from the outside, with only the dovecote to hint at its identity as a pop-culture landmark.

When we walked in, the first thing we saw was a mural of Prince's eyes looking down at us from the wall. Then we noticed the zodiac carpeting, the blue sky on the walls, and the nightscape on the ceiling. There were cats ambling about randomly. To say it was weird would be an understatement. The telecommunications room with all the wires was close to the front, and the receptionist showed us to it. We settled in and got to work.

My mentor was a cool guy — even though he was a parent of teens at that time, he listened to all the current music, so he was somewhat of a fan. He was also a big smartass and a bit of a prankster. Midway through the work, the receptionist came and and declared that "HE is in the kitchen and would appreciate it if you would stay on this side of the building." Without missing a beat, my mentor replied, "Well, you let him know that WE'RE in here and we'd appreciate it if he'd stay in the kitchen."

I thought the poor gal was going to faint. Good times.

Deb, Rochester, Minn.

I truly believe the music of your teen years is the benchmark for the rest of your life. So anything I am today is because Prince (and the Revolution) molded me. I remember listening to Purple Rain and being excited, riveted and more than a little scandalized. He was the soundtrack of my youth and I really appreciate the fact he was still creating until the very end.

Cillian, Dublin, Ireland

My earliest memory is being on the dance floor at my uncle Niall's wedding, and "Purple Rain" was playing while pPurple lasers filled the room. The sound of Prince is what woke me up into this world. He really means the world to me.

Beatrice, Brookfield, Wis.

Life is electric! Thank you, Prince, for sharing your electric magic in this thing called life and imparting your bliss while here with us this short time. Thank you for defining my youth and taste in music. May it rain purple today.

Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.

It seems to me that when an artist of this magnitude dies, there is a surge of energy in the universe. Then that energy settles down and returns to others to use. Hopefully, this energy will settle in many people and Prince will live on forever.

KaShawndros, Atlanta

In 1984. my parents took me to see Purple Rain. I was only five years old; and I was in total awe of Prince. I cherished my Purple Rain poster more than anything. He went on tour that year and stopped in my hometown, New Orleans. I wanted to go to the concert, but my mother wouldn't allow it because I was "much too young." I cried myself sick as my father and sister left for the show.

Our beloved Prince, YOU were much too young to leave for the show (The Afterlife). You will forever be ingrained in my childhood memories. There will never be another one like you.

Kelsey, Denton, Texas

I have loved Prince since I was little. I watch Purple Rain almost weekly. His music just transcends all others. People think this is weird that so many are so hurt and upset, but music ties us to each other. True music lovers cringe at the loss of those who made the music that helped us get through life — good times, bad times, chaotic times, love, loss, etc. Prince has music for everything. He will be greatly missed. I cannot believe he's gone. We have lost an amazing artist, soul, and heart.

Angie, Burnsville, Minn.

At the Target Center show in Minneapolis in 1999 or 2000, Prince invited the whole audience to Paisley Park. I went with my aunt and my cousin, who then worked at First Ave. While in line at Paisley, bouncers tried to cut the line off before me but after my cousin. She grabbed me and the bouncer and exclaimed, "Ahhh, no sir, she's my cousin, we were at the concert tonight, I work at First Ave … there is no way you're not letting her in!!" Being a nice bouncer, he cut the line off behind me. Once inside I was star struck; Prince was there, jamming on the keyboard on a small low-rise stage, three feet in front of me, playing mostly jam songs but he snuck in a few popular songs. I stood there, staring at him until 2 a.m. Best night ever. The music gave me the chills — non-stop — for hours! (And thanks, cuz, for fighting for me!)

Sonia, Carroll, Iowa

Prince's music asked questions that had never been asked before. I was 12 years old and played "Purple Rain" until it was worn out. Growing up in the '80s and college in the early '90s, there is a Prince song that defines all of those moments, even the ones I'd forgotten about until I hear the Prince song that marks that time. He was truly an innovator. I am so grateful to have his music.

Lance, Coon Rapids, Minn.

My favorite memory and personal encounter with Prince occurred in the late '80s. Before Sheiks became a strip club, it was a popular dance club that my friends and I frequented on the weekends. Imagine the crowd's shock and surprise when Prince entered with his father to just hang out and spend a night out on the town, just the two of them. He had a couple of bodyguards with him but was not at all standoffish or unapproachable. They took some seats at a corner table away from the dance floor and just kicked back. Most people in the club were unsure if it was proper and "cool" to approach him to say hello or ask for an autograph; some did, and he was very polite and gracious to everyone who did approach him. My friends and I decided to not bother Prince, we respected the fact he was out hanging with his dad and wanted them to enjoy their evening.

Even though smoking was still allowed in bars at that time, I decided to go outside for a smoke and some fresh air. I was standing out front on the steps checking out Prince's limo when, lo and behold, his Purple Majesty came outside to speak to the driver. After informing the driver that they were planning on leaving in a few moments, Prince came over and stood on the steps next to me and asked how I'm doing. I answered, "I'm doing great, how are you, Prince?" He told me that he and his dad were out on the town for the night and having a good time. He asked my name, shook my hand and just chatted with me for a couple of minutes. No one from inside had followed him outside, it was just Prince and me, hanging out and talking on the steps of a Minneapolis nightclub.

After a few minutes, his dad came outside. Prince said, "Well, have a terrific night, Lance." And then he and his dad hopped into the limo and off they went. About 30 seconds later, people started pouring out the the club to see if Prince was still there or had left, my friends included. They asked if Prince had come out that way and if I had talked to him. I filled them in on the whole event, and they were pretty amazed and a bit jealous as well.

So that's my five-minute personal brush with Prince. He came across as very genuine, and down to earth in my brief encounter with him. He really put Minneapolis on the map for the rest of the world. So sad to hear of his passing. RIP Prince. You will be missed.

Kelly, Forest Township, Minn.

I grew up with Prince, but he was always an unattainable concert. I lived in Winnipeg in 2002, where I happened upon an after-concert event that he hosted. What an amazing artist, who truly was there to share his passion for music with people. Most people at the event were unfamiliar with his hits, so he just jammed for us. My head still shakes as I remember how AMAZING it was. A humble man who knew what he was good at, and gave it as a gift. He makes me proud to be a Minnesotan.

Jo, Waynesville, N.C.

The first secular album I bought was his 1979 album Prince and it was the soundtrack to my freshman year in college. I can hear any song from that album and instantly be transported back to 18. And I know the words to all of them! Such an indelible and permanent part of my soul.

Kristen, Minneapolis

Dec. 30, 1998: I was shopping at Prince's store "Go Home" in Uptown when in walks Prince. The next thing I know, the store is locked up and I have become part of Prince's shopping trip for his 1999 New Year's Eve celebration. It was pretty cool being locked up in his store with him and his bodyguards outside standing by not letting anyone in the store. The icing on the cake came a few months later, when my now-husband and I went on our first date to see Parliament perform at First Avenue. We went to Lucé for late-night pizza and then out to Paisley Park to watch Prince jam at one of his 3 a.m. concerts. That goes down as the best first date, and the rest is history.

Andrea, Minneapolis

I have two passions in life: music and art. My dad is a musician and I grew up immersed in music and pop culture. I was never really exposed to much kids' music. No Raffi for me. It was Janet and Michael, Van Halen and Ozzy, blues, funk and lots of Prince. I watched more MTV and VH1 than any elementary-age kid should, and collected the tapes and CDs my dad and I would buy on our trips to the local music store. I remember a VHS tape that my dad kept in a plastic snap-clasp case that said, "Purple Rain" on the front. I wasn't allowed to watch it until years later. But I used to pull it off the shelf and stare at it, wondering what it was and why my dad thought it was so great.

When I got my first car, "When Doves Cry" was my favorite song to blast when I drove around at night. That song and its groove — I mean really. When I started driving around Minneapolis on a regular basis, I kept the Purple Rain CD in my car because it made me feel at home to throw it in as I drove past First Avenue or rolled into Downtown from Northeast Minneapolis. When I bought my first record player in 2005, the first 45 I purchased was "When Doves Cry." Prince's music has been a thread through my life.

Years later, I burst through the doors of First Avenue with my brother and ran upstairs to stake out our place at a The Walkmen show. I spotted the Purple Rain star above the staircase and touched it with my hand and smiled. So much of my heart and love for music lies inside First Avenue, and we really only have Prince to thank for that. First Avenue, the Minneapolis sound, the vibrant local music scene that exists here today is in large part thanks to the culture and image he built nationally. He earned Minneapolis the respect of the artistic meccas on the coasts.

Music is a bit like religion, for me. Losing Prince feels like we lost a saint. Or Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. He was a blessed and gifted man who led us into worship of music and his evangelism was to share his other-worldly musical ability with all of us.

Jay, Marion, Iowa

At a Prince concert in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the crowd calmed down very quiet as Prince swaggered over to the piano, getting ready to float a song to us. In that instant, I screamed, "I love you, Prince!" He stopped, looked and said, "Eye love U 2." Priceless.

Jim, Cottage Grove, Minn.

I had the opportunity to meet Prince when I was 16 years old. Me, my two cousins and my aunt went to my aunt's friend's shop where she made the costumes for Prince. After we looked at Prince's costumes, the lady told us where he could be found. This was before Paisley Park. We drove to a warehouse down the street from the shop where my aunt's friend worked. When we got there, we could hear Prince and the Revolution practicing inside. We sat down by the garage door and listened for a while. When the music stopped, out came Jerome Benton. He was pretty cool; he came over and talked to us and gave us autographs. My cousin asked if we could meet Prince; Jerome was unsure, but said he'd check. About five minutes later, out came Prince. We were all in awe! Prince came over and signed autographs, hugged us and made us feel welcome. When my cousin asked if she could take her picture with Prince and his band, Prince said no … he then turned and said, "But you're welcome to come inside and have a listen!"

We went inside, and he put on a four-and-a-half-hour private concert for us. Prince and his crew treated us like we were family. When Prince found out that I was a diabetic, he made sure his people were there to get me what I needed when I needed it. Some say this man could be [difficult], and I will always be ready to argue.

I grew up about six blocks away from where Prince lived in Minneapolis. My dad worked about a block and a half away, and he worked on Prince's motorcycle on a few different occasions.

Why am I so bummed out? Maybe it's because Prince gave me something I'll always cherish — not just in his music but the personal experience. Rest in peace, Prince. God must've needed a Raspberry Beret.

Megan, St. Paul, Minn.

I grew up with Prince. My mother loved his work, replaying his tapes over and over as we drove around in her beaten up Chevy Cavalier. I've grown up and my mother and I have grown apart, but Prince has always stayed with me, a voice of home, never too far down my playlist. When I heard the news of Prince's death, the first thing I thought of was my mom and how she'd feel. So I called her. We talked of how much he had meant to her and to her friends, moving on to how much we meant to each other. My mother and I are not estranged at all, but April 21 was the first day in at least five years that I had a three-hour unbroken conversation with my mother. I thank Prince for that. Rest in peace.

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