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Editor’s Note: This piece originally ran days after the world learned of Prince’s passing on April 21, 2016. A year later, for millions around the world, the emotions remain the same.

The world lost a legend as Prince passed on, leaving the rest of us reeling from his exit from the Earthly Stage.

Prince is dead.

He is gone and there will never be another one like him.

When I heard the news, I felt a visceral blow. Something stirred in my stomach and my heart caught for a moment. Something felt unreal about the information that had just been relayed. I refused to believe it.

Somehow, even as I read about Prince being found dead in his home, the logic still didn’t line up in my head. He was way too young to just be snatched away from family, friends, fans, muses, and loved ones. He was just performing last week.

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Prince’s music has been a fixture in my life for as long as I can remember. There had never been a world where he didn’t exist in my mind. It’s no exaggeration to say that 2016 has not been a safe one for the legends. We’ve been losing greats all year, but this one came with a particular sting.

Like many, I grew up listening to Prince’s music, and his sound had a way of sounding new and avant-garde years after it had been released. Purple Rain might be his best known work, but he was always churning out incredible music. As a fifth grader, I was shocked to learn in 1995 that 1999 actually came out in 1982.

In 1989, Prince’s soundtrack made Tim Burton’s Batman movie even more iconic. It was the perfect compliment to the crazy, stylized, cartoonish feel of the film, which set the bar for any Batman movie to follow.

While I had no business listening to anything from Diamonds and Pearls in 1991, you couldn’t keep me from turning it up whenever the title track or “Cream” came on the radio. I had no idea what he was talking about, but that didn’t make it sound any less amazing.

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More recently, his duet with Janelle Monae, Givin’ Em What They Love, was one of my favorite tracks from her Electric Lady album. The duet was classic Prince — he was never afraid to shine some light on other artists and give younger acts some love. He knew that their talent didn’t take away from his and that there was plenty of room for everyone to shine.

But it wasn’t just Prince’s music that made him such a captivating figure. It was his general being. He had this presence that pulled everyone in and held their attention. He had a fearless sense of fashion that dared anyone to question his right to wear what he wanted. It wasn’t masculine, it wasn’t feminine; it was Prince. His curly coif was legendary and his swag was incomparable. And who else was going to rock bright yellow pants with booty cutouts and heels the way he did? No one!

His stage presence was enchanting if not transformative. You didn’t walk away from a Prince show without your life being forever changed.

Beyond that, his sense of humor was legendary. Whether he was throwing epic levels of shade without saying a word, Kim Kardashian off a stage, or throwing everyone into a tizzy about his Twitter account, we were all watching Prince for whatever he was going to do next.

Prince was such a force that he was even turned into a superhero with his own comic book. That’s right, The Purple One was once the star of his own three-part adventure released by DC Comics, where he battled an evil musician called Spooky Electric and scares off a whole crew of thugs. After hearing about the way he whooped Charlie Murphy at basketball, this didn’t sound like a stretch for Prince.

Now that his story has drawn to a close, the world is little less bright and a little less wonderful without him here. But, at least we can remember how magical he was while he was with us and bask in the glow his legacy has left behind.


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