Mourning Fans Cannot Imagine A World Without Prince In It

His legions of fans immediately took to social media to express their sorrow and remember the pop icon

Prince's fans rushed online to pay tribute to him. — Illustration: Tara Jacoby
Apr 21, 2016 at 3:50 PM ET

Prince was one of the most beloved pop icons of his generation, so it’s not a surprise that his unexpected death at the age of 57 sent music lovers of the world into a tailspin of grief. It’s a sign of the times that social media is our go-to destination for marking the passing of our heroes, and as news of Prince’s death spread online there was a tidal wave of reaction from shocked and heartbroken fans.

At 12:22 pm ET Thursday, TMZ tweeted that a death had taken place at Paisley Park, Prince’s longtime home in Minnesota. Right away the people of the internet erupted with concern over the fate of the beloved star.

At 12:50, TMZ confirmed that it was, in fact, Prince who had died. The intense interest in the story led TMZ’s website to crash briefly, and over the course of several minutes mentions of him on Twitter shot through the roof, reaching a peak of 1,713 mentions per minute.

By 3 pm, well over 125,000 people has tweeted at Prince, who was quite an active figure on social media. Not only was #Prince suddenly flooding Twitter in the U.S., it was also the number one trending topic all the way in Pakistan—which proves the kind of global reach the superstar had.

Within an hour of his death being confirmed, 122 people on Instagram had tagged pictures at Paisley Park, and the number has been climbing steadily since then. It began with a few grim shots of the investigation underway from people who were actually on scene, but has since moved mostly to memorials and pictures of the first flowers being placed in his honor. The piles of flowers will surely grow, and the flurry of online tributes will no doubt continue for days.

At paisley park just now can’t be true that he’s dead!

A photo posted by Daisy The Vegan (@daisy_the_vegan) on Apr 21, 2016 at 10:53am PDT


#RIP Truly a sad day in music! A photo posted by @xtian_borjon on Apr 21, 2016 at 10:36am PDT

Fans with flowers are gathering at Paisley Park. It has been confirmed that Prince has passed away at age 57.

A photo posted by The Current (@thecurrent) on Apr 21, 2016 at 11:01am PDT