Prince fans pay respects at Paisley Park 5 years after death

APTOPIX_Prince_Anniversary_16372 Prince fans were invited to Paisley Park, 20 at a time, to pay respect to the legendary musician and artist during the 5th anniversary of his death, Wednesday, April 21, 2021, in Chanhassen, Minn. Lifelong fan Patrice Files of Detroit, Mich., wore clothing from head to toe to honor Prince adding he was "the soundtrack to her life."
Prince_Anniversary_84941 During the fifth anniversary observance of Prince's death, fans left flowers, candles and wreaths to commemorate the legendary musician and artist outside of Paisley Park, Wednesday, April 21, 2021, in Chanhassen, Minn. Prince fans were invited, 20 at a time, to pay their respects at the museum complex.
Prince_Anniversary_87645 During the fifth anniversary observance of Prince's death, Patrice Files, of Detroit, right, consoles friend Virginia Ann Rausch, of Blaine, Minn., at Paisley Park, Wednesday, April 21, 2021, in Chanhassen, Minn. Fans of the legendary musician and artist were invited, 20 at a time, to pay their respects.
Prince_Anniversary_01735 A fan takes a photo of a memorial, Wednesday, April 21, 2021, as others line up to go into Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minn., on the fifth anniversary of Prince's death. Fans were allowed into the home and studio of the late musician 20 at a time to pay respect.
Prince_Anniversary_13957 Ruthea Bennett, of Knoxville, Tenn., poses for a selfie in front of the iconic Prince statue, Wednesday, April 21, 2021, outside Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minn., on the fifth anniversary of his death.
Prince_Anniversary_67072 Patrice Files of Detroit, Mich. wipes the tears off the face of friend Virginia Ann Rausch of Blaine, Minn., Wednesday, April 21, 2021, outside of Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minn., on the fifth anniversary of Prince's death. Fans were allowed into the home and studio of the late musician 20 at a time to pay respect. Files said she "felt the need to be here, not only as a fan but also as a family member, because that is what his fans were to him - family."
Prince_Anniversary_09046 A fan takes a photo of a memorial, Wednesday, April 21, 2021, as others line up to go into Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minn., on the fifth anniversary of Prince's death. Fans were allowed into the home and studio of the late musician 20 at a time to pay respect.
Prince_Anniversary_21680 Prince fans were invited to Paisley Park, 20 at a time, to pay respect to the legendary musician and artist during the 5th anniversary of his death, Wednesday, April 21, 2021, in Chanhassen Minn. Fans took photos in front of the iconic Prince symbol statue outside of the museum before entering.
Prince_Anniversary_65314 FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2007, file photo, Prince performs during the halftime show at the Super Bowl XLI football game in Miami. The music icon died of an accidental opioid overdose at his Paisley Park studio on April 21, 2016.
Prince_Anniversary_67353 FILE - In this Nov. 22, 2015 file photo, Prince presents the award for favorite album - soul/R&B at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles. The music icon died of an accidental opioid overdose at his Paisley Park studio on April 21, 2016. He was 57.
Prince_Anniversary_86966 FILE - In this Feb. 18, 1985 file photo, Prince performs at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. The music icon died of an accidental opioid overdose at his Paisley Park studio on April 21, 2016. He was 57.
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CHANHASSEN, Minn. (AP) — Paisley Park, where Prince lived and worked, welcomed back select fans Wednesday to mark the fifth anniversary of his death from inside his creative sanctuary. Some wore custom Prince clothes and shoes and left flowers and other mementos as tributes to the late superstar.

The sprawling studio’s atrium opened to 1,400 people who were able to snag free reservations, while other fans paid their respects in front of a statue erected outside the front doors in the shape of his famous purple Love Symbol.

A custom-made ceramic urn shaped like Paisley Park with Prince’s symbol on top was originally placed in the middle of the atrium when the pop legend’s 65,000-square-foot studio in suburban Minneapolis first opened as a museum in October 2016. At the request of Prince’s family, the ashes were moved to a less prominent spot in the atrium and eventually removed entirely from public view, disappointing the superstar’s legions of fans.

Wednesday was the first time the urn has returned to the atrium for display to the public.

“He reached me through his music and through his words and everything. My daughters, I raised them with the love of Prince,” said Raquel Ponce of Mason City, Iowa. She noted while fighting back tears that she tried to give birth to one of her daughters on the singer’s birthday, but missed that mark by a day.

Prince died April 21, 2016, of an accidental fentanyl overdose at age 57, shocking fans and setting off waves of grief around the world. Since then, Paisley Park was turned into a museum and paid tours were created. Tours were shut down for the day to mark the fifth anniversary.

“We celebrate his life and legacy every day at Paisley Park, a place that Prince wanted to share with the world,” Paisley Park Executive Director Alan Seiffert said in a statement. “So, on this day especially, we acknowledge the incredible force and inspiration Prince is in people’s lives and open up our doors for them to pay their respects.”

Paisley Park also posted an online memorial at www.Paisleypark.com.

Pepe Willie, Prince’s uncle and an early music mentor, still tears up when he thinks of the lost star.

“It was devastating,” he recently told The Associated Press of the moment he learned the news. “I’m standing in the living room with my underwear on watching the TV. I couldn’t go anywhere, I couldn’t do anything. I was just in so much shock. It was unbelievable.”

Known as the “godfather of the Minneapolis sound,” he met Prince as a young musical prodigy after marrying his aunt. The pair developed a bond through music, with Prince soaking up his knowledge about the music business and playing for Willie in a recording studio.

“I cried for him so hard,” Willie said. “I didn’t even cry at my father’s funeral.”

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Associated Press Writer John Carucci in New York and Aron Ranen in Chanhassen contributed to this story.

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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