Friends and family hold 'loving' private memorial for Prince

Friends and family hold 'loving' private memorial for Prince

Prince's "most beloved" friends and family have held a private memorial for the music superstar after his body was cremated.

The American musician died at his Paisley Park estate near Minneapolis on Thursday morning after he was found collapsed in a lift. He was 57.

A private ceremony celebrating his life was held at Paisley Park on Saturday, attended by Prince's sister Tyka Nelson and brother-in-law Maurice Phillips.

Prince's body has been cremated and the "final storage" of his remains will be private, his publicist Yvette Noel-Schure said.

She said: "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.

"Prince's remains have been cremated and their final storage will remain private.

"We ask for your blessings and prayers of comfort for his family and close friends at this time. The cause of death remains unknown and it will be at least four weeks before we receive the results of the autopsy.

"An announcement will be made at a future date for a musical celebration."

One woman who attended the memorial told the Press Association: "It was actually a party. People danced and ate."

Percussionist Sheila E and bassist Larry Graham were among the mourners who attended the small service.

Flowers from inside Paisley Park were handed out afterwards to fans gathered outside the estate.

Prince was a Jehovah's Witness which required a funeral to take place within a week of his death.

He was found by staff members on Thursday morning, more than 12 hours after he was last seen alive when he was dropped off at Paisley Park.

Police are investigating whether foul play was involved in his death after authorities said they had "no reason to believe" the Purple Rain star killed himself and there were "no obvious signs of trauma" on his body.

Celebrity news website TMZ reported that the singer overdosed on a painkiller called Percocet six days before his death, forcing his private jet to make an emergency landing in Atlanta, Georgia.

Tributes have continued to pour in for the singer, with Eric Clapton crediting Prince with helping him escape a "massive downward spiral with drink and drugs" after he saw Purple Rain. He also said Prince inspired his 1986 hit Holy Mother.

Meanwhile, Will Smith revealed he was one of the last people to speak to Prince the night before his death.

Writing on Facebook, the actor said: "Jada & I mourn with all of you the loss of a beautiful poet, a true inspiration, and one of the most magnificent artists to ever grace this earth."

Hundreds of Prince fans gathered to watch his 1984 film Purple Rain on a large screen at Target Field Station in Minneapolis.

The screening, next to the baseball ground of the Minnesota Twins, saw people dance, applaud and sing along to hits from the film including Let's Go Crazy, I Would Die 4 U and Purple Rain.

It came after some fans at Paisley Park were handed purple boxes containing a photo of Prince and a black T-shirt with 3121 printed on, the numbers referring to an album released by Prince in 2006.

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