Soul music icon Aretha Franklin weighed in on the death of fellow icon Prince in a phone-in appearance on MSNBC Thursday, just hours after the beloved pop star was found dead at the age of 57 at his Paisley Park compound in Minnesota.
“I was coming out of my hotel and the doorman stopped me and asked me had I heard about Prince,” the 74-year-old R&B legend told MSNBC’s Brian Williams. “It just blew me away. Unbelievable. He was such an original, and one-of-a-kind. There truly was only one Prince.”
“Young adults and adults loved Prince,” she added. “There was a mystique about him. You saw him here and there, you didn’t see him a lot on TV, but you saw him here and there. He just had a mystique about him that made you want to know more about him.”
During her phone interview, Franklin also speculated about what may have caused the singer’s seemingly abrupt death at such a young age.
“They’re saying flu-like symptoms; I’m wondering if it has to do anything with this Zika virus,” Franklin said.
Williams was similarly puzzled by what could have caused the singer’s death.
“He was a vegan, he was a fitness buff, he was a dancer, he was physically very fit,” Williams said. ”
Prince was reportedly found unresponsive in an elevator at his Minnesota home at around 9:45 am. Attempts to revive him with CPR were unsuccessful. No cause of death has yet been announced. The Carver County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the circumstances of the singer’s death.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum