Prince’s Life in Pictures

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On the fourth anniversary of Prince’s untimely death, Us Weekly looks back at some of the most memorable moments throughout the music legend’s groundbreaking career.

Bare Beginnings

Prince’s first album, For You, was released in 1978. During that era, the musician often performed shirtless.

"Anyone who was around back then knew what was happening," Prince told Rolling Stone in 1990 about the early days of his career. "I was working. When they were sleeping, I was jamming. When they woke up, I had another groove. I'm as insane that way now as I was back then."

Leni Sinclair/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Jam Session

On March 21, 1981, Prince lit up the stage at the Ritz Carlton in New York City as part of his Dirty Mind tour. Despite his strict religious upbringing as a Seventh-day Adventist (he later became a Jehovah’s Witness, in 2001), the superstar titillated audiences with shocking costumes and unabashed sexuality during his live shows.

Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

Movie Magic

Prince’s semi-autobiographical film Purple Rain — named after his hit album — was released in 1984. Here, he’s pictured filming a scene with costar Apollonia Kotero. In 2015, Kotero, now 56, opened up about going on one date with Prince on an episode of Oprah: Where Are They Now?

“We had a date that evening, and we danced up a storm, had a great time,” she said. “He was not my boyfriend, but he’s my greatest friend.”

Warner Brothers/Getty Images

Birthday Boy

Prince celebrated his 26th birthday and the release of his album Purple Rain at First Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he was born and raised.

"You have a few choices when you're in that position," he told Rolling Stone in 1990, recalling the first year after Purple Rain. "You can get all jacked up on yourself and curse everybody, or you can say this is the way life is and try to enjoy it.” 

Paul Natkin/WireImage

White Hot

At the height of his commercial fame, the “Let’s Go Crazy” singer took the stage at the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood, California, on February 19, 1985, and wowed the crowd in a fierce, sheer, all-white ensemble. “I tend to dig some of the art from back then,” he told the Guardian in 2011 of his classic '80s tracks. “I like putting it on shirts and bags. The fans dig it.”

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Spousal Support

While performing in the Netherlands on August 9, 1993, Prince invited his then-muse, singer-dancer Mayte Garcia, to join him on stage. The two married three years later, on Valentine’s Day 1996. That following October, the couple gave birth to a baby boy named Gregory, who tragically died from Pfeiffer syndrome at one week old.

Frans Schellekens/Redferns

London Calling

Prince performed for his legions of British fans at Wembley Arena in London on March 1, 1995, as part of the Ultimate Live Experience tour. “If there’s a challenge it’s to outdo what I’ve done in the past,” he told the Guardian in 2011 of his dedication to creating incredible stage productions. “I play each show as if it’s the last one.”

Mick Hutson/Redferns

Killin’ It With Queen Bey

Prince, who never shied away from expressing his love for Beyoncé, joined the “Crazy In Love” songstress at the 46th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on February 8, 2004. “She’s so very talented,” the “Raspberry Beret” crooner gushed at the time.

Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Rock On

Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. “Thank you, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it’s definitely an honor,” he said in his acceptance speech. “When I first started out in the music industry, I was most concerned with freedom. Freedom to produce, freedom to play all the instruments on my records, freedom to say anything I wanted to, and after much negotiation Warner Brothers Records granted me that freedom, and I thank them.”

Kevin Kane/WireImage

Love for One Another

Prince attended the 35th Annual NAACP Image Awards with his second wife, businesswoman Manuela Testolini, on March 6, 2004, in Hollywood. The couple married in 2001. Testolini — who first met Prince while working for his charity, Love4OneAnother — filed for divorce in July 2006 after five years of marriage.

Frank Micelotta/Getty Images


Prince headlined the halftime show at Super Bowl XLI in Miami on February 4, 2007. The musical genius treated football fans to a wild set of hits, including “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Nothing Compares 2 U” (the song he wrote for Sinead O’Connor), “7” and a cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together.”

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

A Lasting Legacy

Prince was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2010 BET Awards in Los Angeles on June 27, 2010. “You don’t have to do what I did,” the legendary singer told the audience at the time. “You don’t have to make any of the mistakes I made … The future’s in your hands now and the world is really yours.”

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Sizzling in Sin City

Prince rocked out at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on May 19, 2013. For his stellar set, the seven-time Grammy winner performed a slowed-down version of “Let’s Go Crazy” before breaking into his collaborative single with 3rdEyeGirl, “FixUrLifeUp.”

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Still Going Strong

More than 30 years after making his musical debut, Prince still loved performing live for fans. He graced the stage at the Hollywood Palladium on March 4, 2014, to sing with Liv Warfield and the NPG Horns. “I embarked on a journey more fascinating than I could ever have imagined,” he reflected of his decades-long career back in 2004.

Kevin Mazur/WireImage for NPG Records 2013

Gone But Never Forgotten

Prince made his last awards show appearance at the 2015 American Music Awards in Los Angeles on November 22, 2015. He presented the first award of the night, for Favorite Soul/R&B Album, which he presented to an awestruck The Weeknd. He called the moment “an honor.”

Lester Cohen/WireImage

Official Word

Six weeks after his death, the medical examiner’s office confirmed in June 2016 that the iconic singer died of an opioid overdose. The Grammy winner had a decade-old addiction to painkillers, which he began taking for hip pain. 

Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images

His Belongings

Prince died without a valid will. A Minnesota judge determined that the late star’s sister and five half siblings would stand to inherit his multimillion dollar estate. In January 2017, CNN reported that he had real estate holdings valued at more than $25 million, but the inventory is still in process.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Speaking Out

Prince’s ex-wife Mayte Garcia opened up about their relationship in a Good Morning America interview in April 2017. In her memoir, The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince, she opens up about how Prince never spoke publicly about their son, Amiir, who died of a rare genetic disorder days after he was born in October 1996. “It was how he handled it and I respected that,” she said on GMA. The pair were married from 1996 to 2000.

Sinead Lynch/AFP/Getty Images

Behind Closed Doors

In April 2017, new documents released by the Minnesota Judicial Branch revealed that opioids were found hidden throughout Prince’s Paisley Park residence. His bodyguard filled the singer’s prescriptions, which included Percocet, at a local Walgreens pharmacy just one day before his death.

Kristian Dowling/Getty Images

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