San Diego Mourns Music Icon Prince

Legendary musician Prince died at home on Thursday

Following the report that music icon Prince passed away at the age of 57 on Thursday, music fans the world over have begun to express their memories, grief and impact the beloved musician had on their lives – and San Diegans, of course, are mourning, too.

Throughout the years, Prince performed in San Diego a handful of times (seven dates to be exact), with his last shows a surprise two-night, four-show stand on May 3-4, 2013, at the Legends 6 Ballroom in the Hard Rock Hotel in downtown San Diego.

"We'll have purple exterior and interior lights at the hotel today," Rana Kay, Hard Rock Hotel's Director of Public Relations told SoundDiego. "Every time there's a big loss in the music industry, we feel it at Hard Rock."

Kay remembered back to the four Prince shows that took over the Legend 6 ballroom at the hotel three years ago, noting that Prince was simply spectacular at guitar and commanded the room with a magnetizing presence.

Upon hearing news of the musician's passing, tears were the immediate reactions of staff at the Hard Rock, Kay said.

As a huge fan of Prince herself, Kay said her memories of the musician include listening to his tapes with her sister as teens while they got ready for school each morning.

The huge video board behind the front desk currently has a photo of Prince, and all screens will be radiating purple light in his honor. The hotel's music playlist will be all Prince songs all day, as well. Kay said there are no special events planned as of yet, but fans are welcome to gather there later in the day.

The venue, which only holds 900 people, was the closest many had ever come to the legend, and the energy was palpable, Kay said – even in the gargantuan line of fans hoping to get in, which stretched through the Gaslamp Quarter.

"The vibe was so insane," SoundDiego blogger Scott McDonald recalls. "There was such an intense comradery among everyone in the line that we’d have the possibility of being so close to such a huge figure. You don't get that at a normal show. And he delivered. [Prince] played a lot of new songs, but he also threw in some hits from throughout his career."

McDonald, who grew up in Minneapolis -- the birthplace and stomping ground of Prince himself -- thought back on the three times he saw him and expressed a profound sadness that he would never be able to add to that tally.

"Even when David Bowie died -- and I consider Bowie as one of the greatest rock stars ever -- I didn't feel it as personally as I do [with Prince] now," McDonald told SoundDiego. "For me, Prince was the barometer -- so to think of music in general without him, is a hard concept to grasp. I'm still trying to process it. It's terrible."

On Thursday, the Legends 6 ballroom was hosting a national sales conference for an insurance corporation.

NBC 7 spoke with several attendees of the conference, many of whom were rattled and saddened by the passing of the icon.

Florida resident Dina Glover said she got "chills" and goosebumps when she learned her conference was taking place in the very room where Prince performed.

Sanjay Nanglia, of Cleveland, Ohio, said he's a lifelong fan of Prince and was devastated by the news of the pop icon's death. He and Prince share a birthday, so he feels a deep connection to the singer.

Nanglia grew up in India and told NBC 7 he remembers listening to Prince tapes in the 1980s. After listening to "Purple Rain" and seeing Prince's style, Nanglia said he was inspired to wear lace.

"I just wanted to be him," Nanglia said, adding that he gave his girlfriend at the time the nickname "Purple Rain."

"She's didn't last long -- because of the lace," he joked.

Nanglia said Prince's legacy and unforgettable music will live on forever.

"It's a huge loss to pop music," he lamented.

Nanglia was inspired to break into song as a tribute to Prince, and he belted out parts of "When Doves Cry" and, of course, "Purple Rain."

Other fans at the hotel followed suit, also singing their own versions of classic Prince hits.

Meanwhile, San Diego musicians took to Twitter to express their disbelief.

And even more grieved on Facebook.

"PRINCE DIED??????? NO !!!!!!!!!!!" -- Timothy Joseph, manager of Phaser Control Recording Studios and frontman of the Palace Ballroom and Buckfast Superbee

"Prince?? Say it ain't so…. I saw Prince three times, first in 1997 at RIMAC Arena, then in 2008 at Coachella (he covered Radiohead's 'Creep') and more recently at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego in 2013, special thanks to Matthew DuFour. Today I want to watch 'Purple Rain' on repeat ..." -- Tim Pyles, SoundDiego contributor and 91x DJ

"Rest in Peace Prince!!! Can't believe it. What a musician. What a life." -- Matt Caughthran, frontman of the Bronx and Mariachi El Bronx

"I've had a copy of 'Purple Rain' in my van since the end of 2014, after a tour w/ The Whiskey Circle where I watched 'Purple Rain' for the first time. All who ride in Stevie, ride with Prince. This album in particular became a huge inspiration for me, daily listen for months. Big inspirados for the 'Otay' album too. Amazing musician and artists, glad to be turned on ‪#‎rip‬ ‪#‎Prince‬" -- Daniel Cervantes, guitarist/vocalist in Mrs. Henry and Creature and the Woods.

"The year the music died." -- FM 94/9 DJ Woods

"I definitely didn't want to believe it. I kept refreshing my news feed to get some kind of confirmation that was more official than TMZ. And there it was. Prince Dead at 57. Some of my earliest memories are listening to 'Purple Rain' on my Fischer Price record player. My mom heard her 6-year-old son singing 'Darling Nikki' and told me I had to stick to 'When Doves Cry' and 'Let's Go Crazy.' That was my first memory of being upset and I didn't understand why 'til I heard it 20 years later…. I don't know what it is about this year. Too many moving on to the next plane. I was in the [Cow] record store when I found out, and I went to tell the one customer that Prince had died. I opened my mouth and I was tearing up, words frail and shaky as they came out. It's strange what affects you and to what extent, so much sadness for a stranger. I hope the world beyond this one holds more beauty, rest in peace." -- Alfred Howard, songwriter/percussionist for the Redwoods Music, and a onetime SoundDiego contributor.

“I'm a Minneapolis-born MTV child of the 80's...Prince was my ICON! I didn't know about the Beatles or Zeppelin or Pink Floyd or any of it as a kid. Prince was my musical idol and the artist that inspired me to attempt to play music myself. I cannot express how sad it is to hear of his passing. RIP Prince.” – Danny Katz, drummer in Neighbors to the North.

“Reading this as the radio in the cars going by ominously is playing ‘The Day the Music Died.’ No words.” – Brian Reilly, frontman for the Hiroshima Mockingbirds and guitarist in the New Kinetics.

“RIP Prince. I hope you get to drive a little red corvette and eat all the pancakes in a purple heaven.” – Frank Green III, guitarist in Le Chateau. 

“Wow. Unreal.! At this rate there will be no music legends left alive by the end of the year. Thank you, Prince, for your genius and for creating the music that has been and will continue to be the soundtrack to so many amazing moments for people all over the planet.” – Jesse LaMonaca, singer/songwriter in Jesse LaMonaca & the Dime Novels.

San Diego radio station Magic 92.5, which broadcast a mix of old-school R&B and hip-hop songs, announced they'll be playing Prince on-air all day Thursday, April 21 -- and encourages listeners to call in to share their grief. 

"Today is a hard day," Magic 92.5's Program Director and afternoon host R Dub! said in a press release. "Prince is an icon to our audience. The best thing we can do now is play his massive library of hit music and remember what a creative and inspirational legend he is."

Later in the day on Thursday, the Casbah announced a Tribute to Prince show on Sunday night with DJ Artistic, Vaughn Avakian, DJ Claire, Heather Hardcore, Al Howard of the Redwoods collective and Mario Orduno, which begins at 8:30 p.m.

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