The president, who just wrapped up a tense visit with leaders in Saudi Arabia and is now on his way to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday in London, said in a statement posted to Facebook, “Today, the world lost a creative icon. Michelle and I join millions of fans from around the world in mourning the sudden death of Prince. Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly, or touched quite so many people with their talent. As one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time, Prince did it all. Funk. R&B. Rock and roll. He was a virtuoso instrumentalist, a brilliant bandleader, and an electrifying performer.
“‘A strong spirit transcends rules,’ Prince once said,” Obama added. “And nobody’s spirit was stronger, bolder or more creative. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his band and all who loved him.”
Last summer, Prince played alongside Stevie Wonder at a private party at the White House for the Obama family and about 500 friends and supporters.
Obama was joined in mourning the pop star’s death by other politicians, including Sen. Al Franken, who represents Prince’s home state of Minnesota. “Prince got his start in a Minneapolis jazz band and went on to share his talent throughout Minnesota and the entire world,” Franken said in a statement. “His artistry, innovation, and unparalleled presence inspired — and will continue to inspire — millions of people. To say he’ll be missed is an understatement. My thoughts are with his loved ones.”