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No signs of trauma, suicide in Prince death: police
[CHANHASSEN, United States] There was no evidence of trauma on Prince's body when he was found unresponsive in an elevator at his huge compound, or any indication the music icon committed suicide, US authorities said Friday.
Stunned fans massed outside the superstar's Paisley Park studio complex on the outskirts of Minneapolis are looking to an autopsy carried out earlier in the day to lift the mystery around the sudden loss of their idol.
But medical officials have cautioned it could be weeks before they could conclusively say what killed the enigmatic musician, whose death aged 57 has plunged the entertainment world into grief.
Prince was found dead a week after he was hospitalised for flu-like symptoms that he later downplayed.
There have been reports the incident was triggered by an overdose of the opioid-based painkiller Percocet.
"We have no reason to believe at this point that this was a suicide," Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson told a packed news conference.
"But again, this is early on in the investigation and we're continuing to investigate," he said.
A search warrant for Prince's huge studio complex will be filed in the coming days.
The sheriff said there were "no obvious signs of trauma" on Prince's body, noting: "A sign of trauma would be some sign of violence that had happened, there was no sign of that at all."
Mr Olson said Prince was alone at the premises when he died and refused to comment on reports of painkiller use.
Prince was last seen alive on Wednesday evening by staff at the compound but his body was only discovered the following morning.
The local medical examiner's office says preliminary autopsy results will take days and the results of a full toxicology scan could take weeks.
Grieving fans around the world took to wearing purple - his signature color - in Prince's honor.
Those milling about outside his studio complex to pay their respects placed flowers and handwritten messages at the scene, which has become a place of pilgrimage.
Many said how proud they were of the city's native son, and how saddened they were by the thought he died alone, as well as by the suggestion his death could be linked to an overdose of painkillers.
"It breaks my heart," said Cindy Legg, a 41-year-old nurse. "Hopefully it was just God needed him in heaven."
Entertainment website TMZ, citing unnamed sources, reported that Prince was treated last week for an overdose of Percocet after a show in Atlanta, when his private jet made an unscheduled landing in Moline, Illinois.
"Multiple sources in Moline tell us Prince was rushed to a hospital and doctors gave him a 'save shot'... typically administered to counteract the effects of an opiate," TMZ said. AFP could not immediately verify the report.
Small in stature but an electrifying live performer, Prince became an international sensation in the 1980s, fusing rock and R&B into a highly danceable funk mix.
The sudden loss of the Purple Rain legend, a Grammy and Oscar winner acclaimed for his guitar and keyboard skills and soaring falsetto, prompted an outpouring of tributes - and spontaneous celebrations.
In New York, director Spike Lee led a Prince sing-along at a packed block party in Brooklyn while in Minneapolis, where a bridge was lit up in purple in Prince's memory, the atmosphere was carnival-like with the crowd erupting into renditions of his hits.
"You know, he was the greatest artist of all time. There will never be another one like him," said Antonio Harper, one of thousands who partied through the night in Prince's hometown in a bittersweet farewell.
"I cried, I cried a few times all night. Every time they played his music, songs that hit me," said Melody Johnson, part of the crowd that gathered at the First Avenue club, where Prince shot Purple Rain, the rock musical featuring songs from the album of the same name.
"Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin led an outpouring of tributes from the entertainment industry, describing him as "an original and a one of a kind."
Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger called Prince "one of the most unique and talented artists of the last 30 years" while former Beatle Paul McCartney tweeted that he saw in the New Year with the singer and that he had seemed in good health.
President Barack Obama, who invited Prince to play a private White House show last year, let slip that he played some of his records Friday morning at the US ambassador's residence in London, where he is staying.
"It happens there's a turntable and so this morning, we played Purple Rain and Delirious just to get warmed up before we left the house," Mr Obama told a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
"He was a great performer. And creative and original and full of energy. And so it's a remarkable loss."
Prince - whose huge catalogue of hits includes 1999, Cream and Kiss - was prolific in his output, recently releasing albums through streaming site Tidal, and had taken to scheduling shows at the last minute to avoid scalpers.
Named after his jazz pianist and songwriter father's stage name, the pop icon was born Prince Rogers Nelson in Minneapolis. In 2004, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.