Private farewell for Prince

The family and friends of late pop superstar Prince attend a private ceremony as his spokeman say his remains have been cremated.
Prince's brother-in-law Maurice Phillips talking with fans following the funeral of the star last Saturday, two days after the pop and rock icon was found dead.
Prince's brother-in-law Maurice Phillips talking with fans following the funeral of the star last Saturday, two days after the pop and rock icon was found dead.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
A staff member handing out flowers to fans from a memorial service held inside Prince's Paisley Park compound in Minneapolis.
A staff member handing out flowers to fans from a memorial service held inside Prince's Paisley Park compound in Minneapolis.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Family and friends celebrate the star in a small ceremony after his cremation

MINNEAPOLIS • Family and friends of Prince held a small, private funeral last Saturday after the music superstar's body was cremated, a spokesman said in a statement.

"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," a publicist said.

The star's remains have been cremated and their final resting place will remain private, the publicist added. Plans are under way for a musical celebration of Prince, with details to be announced later.

Among those seen entering Prince's estate, Paisley Park in Chanhassen, last Saturday were his sister Tyka Nelson, his friend Sheila E., his former bass player Larry Graham and model Damaris Lewis.

The service came two days after the pop and rock icon was found dead in an elevator in his suburban Minneapolis compound at age 57, shocking his friends and fans.

The Carver County authorities are investigating the cause of death, which may not be revealed for weeks as they await the results of toxicology scans taken during an autopsy done last Friday.

The investigation is expected to examine Prince's medical history, including the circumstances surrounding an emergency landing his private jet made on the way back from his performances in Atlanta on April 14.

As the mourners arrived last Saturday, his brother-in-law Maurice Phillips came out to chat and take pictures with the fans, said the Daily Mail.

He said Prince did not let the medical problems that led to the emergency landing keep him from his work. "He worked 154 hours straight," Mr Phillips was quoted as saying by the Mail. "I was with him just last weekend. He was a good brother-in-law."

But he neither disclosed what Prince had been working on in his last days, nor divulged details of the service, said the Mail.

Graham - whose debates with Prince led to the star's conversion to the Jehovah's Witness faith - stood at a gate of Paisley Park and thanked the fans gathered on the lawn outside.

"That Prince made us all better musicians and spiritually is the most important thing, but as a musician he pushed us and he made us better and we listened deeply," Graham said.

Participants in the ceremony handed some of the hundreds of fans gift boxes that contained items such as Prince-themed apparel and a music CD.

REUTERS, NEW YORK TIMES, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2016, with the headline 'Private farewell for Prince'. Print Edition | Subscribe