The world lost a legend when Prince passed away unexpectedly at the age of 57 on April 21, 2016. As word of his death spread around the globe, millions turned to Facebook to share articles, videos, and moving tributes, while global and local news outlets used Facebook Live.
According to Facebook, 39 million people had 117 million Facebook interactions related to his passing in the first 24 hours after the news broke. In that process, many gained a deeper understanding of his impact as a musician, songwriter, guitar god, activist, and neighbor.
“Nobody’s spirit was stronger, bolder, or more creative,” said President Obama in a tribute on Facebook, as Justin Timberlake wrote of his “overwhelming grief.” Billboard used Facebook Live to discuss the news and remember his incredible career, while E! News called Prince “a piece of art…that didn’t want to be defined” in their Live coverage.
Minutes after breaking the news of his death, TMZ was on Facebook Live as Harvey Levin spoke of the “remarkable” and tragic passing of Prince while People Magazine also reported about his “ability to break all kinds of barriers for people of color, people of different gender identities, for women” – on Facebook Live.
Other public figures mourned Prince’s passing with their own thoughts, as well, including: Bob Mould, Erykah Badu, George Takei, Will Smith, Eric Clapton among others.
“The mourning of artists has become so potent,” said NPR Music’s Stephen Thompson in a Facebook Live video. “There’s a universal moment where everyone is talking about the same thing and it wears on you…I will think about this day the same way I felt on the day that Whitney died and the day Michael died.”