Sheila E. said goodbye to her good friend Vanity just two months ago, and now she is saying goodbye to Prince. The iconic drummer, who was linked both musically and romantically with the “Purple Rain” singer, posted two heartbreaking tweets after news of his death broke. Sheila E. revealed that she is at a loss for words over news of the shocking death of her longtime collaborator.
Prince was found dead at his Paisley Park compound in Minnesota early Thursday morning, according to TMZ. The 57-year-old music legend had been battling the flu in the days before his death, and his plane even made an emergency landing after a concert in Atlanta last week so he could seek hospital treatment.
Sheila E. and Prince made musical magic together when they joined forces during his Purple Rain recording sessions for the B-side of Prince’s hit “Let’s Go Crazy” and some of his biggest hits throughout his career. Sheila also served as the singer’s drummer and musical director on tour, and she was even engaged to him at one point. In an interview with Time, Sheila E. said she and Prince mentored each other.
“I think we influenced each other. I influenced him the same way he influenced me,” Sheila said. “When he came back to the Bay Area, I introduced him to my family, and he got to see me play with my family, with my dad, and play Latin jazz music, and he’d never heard it before. He was like, ‘This is just crazy. This is amazing.’ He loved it. We mentored each other, if you want to look at it that way. That’s the good thing about Prince: you can see how he was influenced by the people around him. I can hear and see it because I got to live the influence that I had on him as well as the influence he had on me.”
In the same interview, Sheila also dished some personal details about when she lived with Prince.
“He loved eggs. Scrambled eggs. He loved scrambled eggs, pancakes — he loved my pancakes. And he loved my lemon cake,” Sheila said.
Sheila E. published her memoir, The Beat of My Own Drum, in 2014. Prince was slated to publish his memoir next year.
In addition to Sheila E., The Time singer Morris Day posted a series of tweets about the death of his Purple Rain co-star.
Other singers and Hollywood stars have joined Sheila E. to pay tribute to the late musician, including Apollonia Kotero, who starred with the singer in Purple Rain. Apollonia has not publicly spoken about the death of her late co-star.
2016 has been a bad year for fans of the Purple Rain legend and his protégés. In February, Sheila E. posted a poignant tribute to her friend and fellow Prince collaborator Denise Matthews, also known as Vanity. Vanity died of kidney failure and, like Prince, she was also 57-years-old when she passed away. Sheila E. described Vanity as “my friend in Christ.”
Just two months before his death, Prince also paid tribute to Vanity. According to Rolling Stone, the music icon dedicated his song “Little Red Corvette” in Vanity’s honor at a show in Australia, and he told the crowd that he and Vanity “used to love each other deeply.”
“She loved me for the artist I was, I loved her for the artist she was trying to be,” he said of Vanity. “She and I would fight. She was very headstrong ’cause she knew she was the finest woman in the world. She never missed an opportunity to tell you that.”
2016 has been cruel indeed, and with the loss of Prince, the world just got a whole lot less colorful.
[Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images]