Prince remembered: Looking back on the year we mourned his death and celebrated his legacy

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Sign for Prince at Paisley Park
A fan-created sign on the fence at Paisley Park, April 23, 2016. (MPR photo/Luke Taylor)
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Prince's final tour, "Piano and a Microphone," started as a middle-of-the-night brainstorm, according to The Guardian. He did it to challenge himself, "like tying one hand behind my back, not relying on the craft that I've known for 30 years," he told a group of reporters at his Paisley Park studios and quarters in Chanhassen, Minn.

"I won't know what songs I'm going to do when I go on stage, I really won't. I won't have to, because I won't have a band."

The tour began in January at Paisley Park, and criss-crossed the globe with shows in Australia, New Zealand, Montreal, Toronto and New York. By April, he had headed to Atlanta for back-to-back appearances at the city's Fox Theater.

Only a few days later — after a medical emergency on a diverted flight home, Record Store Day in Minneapolis, a pop-up dance party at Paisley Park and an evening in the crowd at the Dakota Jazz Club — Prince was found dead in an elevator inside Paisley Park.

As the news spread across the globe that afternoon, it spurred memorials, concerts and tributes all over the world. Buildings, fountains and bridges shone purple. And in downtown Minneapolis, thousands headed for a street concert outside First Avenue.

Later, the world learned that Prince had died of an overdose of fentanyl, a power prescription painkiller.

Since then, Prince's estate has begun to wind its way through the court system, and Paisley Park has become a museum.

MPR News host Tom Weber explored the days leading up to the Minnesota icon's death, what's happened since and what's ahead. Click on the audio player above to hear the full story.

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