It’s hard to believe Prince has already been gone a month. Ever since the music icon’s body was discovered on April 21 at Paisley Park, his home and studio located on the outskirts of Minneapolis, fans have struggled with a mix of grief and an overwhelming number of rumors, questions and criticism surrounding his death.
We’ve sifted through it all to find the five things to know now and going forward:
- The autopsy/cause of death: Prince’s autopsy was completed the day after his death, but the final results still haven’t been released and may not be for another week or two. “It’ll be done when it’s done… The goal has always been to do it right, not fast,” Carver County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Jason Kamerud told USA Today earlier this week. This isn’t exactly a surprise: On the day of the autopsy, the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office said it wouldn’t release the results until it had gathered all the necessary relevant information about Prince’s medical and family history and completed a full toxicological scan — (which) “could likely take weeks.”
- His estate/heirs: Prince left behind no known will when he died at age 57, leaving lawyers scrambling to settle his multimillion dollar estate on his rightful heirs — the exact number of whom is still being determined. The musician’s sister and only full sibling, Tyka Nelson, 55, has kept a low public profile while playing a key role so far in sorting out the situation. She requested a special administrator to oversee the estate, and earlier this month, she appeared in court with four of Prince’s five half-siblings as the “interested parties” in the estate. Under Minnesota law, they all would share equally in Prince’s estate unless a will is found or an unknown child emerges whose paternity is confirmed. Meanwhile, other claimants to the estate continue to come forward — the daughter and granddaughter of a deceased man they say is another half-brother of Prince’s recently filed court papers to “intervene” — meaning things likely won’t be settled for awhile.
- The private memorial services: Two days after Prince died, family and friends gathered for a very private “celebration” of his life. Then, last Sunday night, another very personal, invitation-only memorial was held at the Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall in Minnetonka, Minn., where “Brother Nelson,” as Prince was known there, had worshipped. That memorial came four days after another invitation-only one in Beverly Hills that was organized by Prince’s two ex-wives, ex-wives Manuela Testolini and Mayte Garcia. Guests at what Newsweek described as the “secretive gathering” included Herbie Hancock, Tavis Smiley, Oscars honcho Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Spike Lee, who previewed his outfit on Instagram as “Purple beret and purple Kobe’s for Prince memorial tonight in El Lay.” (On May 7, Prince’s family had released a statement saying that it is planning “an official memorial service and public event to take place in the near future.”)
- Sunday’s very public (and somewhat controversial) tribute: Madonna will pay tribute to Prince during Sunday’s live Billboard Music Awards on ABC — a choice that hasn’t been met with universal acclaim by fans of the Purple One. A petition on Change.org proclaiming “We cannot let Madonna be the main and only artist tributing Prince” currently has some 8,200 signatures; but the show’s executive producer, Mark Bracco, defended the choice by pointing out that Prince and Madonna’s relationship went as far back as 1989, when they collaborated on a song on her album, “Like a Prayer.” AJC music writer Melissa Ruggieri has an excellent overview of the duo’s relationship here (they even dated!); follow her coverage of Sunday’s Billboard Awards here on the music blog.
- Sales of Prince’s music: Fans poured out their grief by buying Prince’s music in the initial days after his death — over 4 million copies of his albums and songs were sold in the first week, according to Nielsen Music. Not much has changed since then: The current Billboard 200 shows two Prince albums in the Top Ten, “The Very Best of Prince” at No. 5 and “Purple Rain” at No. 8.