The Son Prince Lost To Pfeiffer Syndrome

Amy Schaeffer

In the sad days since music icon Prince Rogers Nelson's death, thoughts naturally turn to his music and life. Prince's musical prowess was well known - his songwriting, ability to play multiple instruments, and his incredible voice were globally recognized. The world knew all about his music, but very little about the complex artist himself. Prince wanted it that way. Although he did give interviews at times, he was often cryptic and said as little as necessary to answer questions. Privacy is a hard thing to come by for celebrities, and Prince preferred to keep his personal life separate from his music.

Although Prince had a very successful musical career, his personal life appeared to be fraught with pain and tragedy. From a turbulent upbringing to two failed marriages, something happened even more devastating to the singer -- he had a son who died seven days after he was born. While word of his son's birth and death did get out to the media, it was not due to Prince or his wife at the time, Mayte Garcia-Nelson, giving the information. In fact, many have said the singer never mentioned his son's death. His son would soon be turning 20 had he lived.

In October of 1996, Mayte Garcia-Nelson gave birth to a baby boy. The child went home with his parents and was at least partially cared for by nannies, twin sisters named Arlene and Erlene "Nanny" Mojica, who lived at Paisley Park with Prince and his then-wife. It was the nannies who leaked the information to the press that the baby died at 7-days-old, reportedly in one of the nanny's arms, according to E! Online. The infant died of natural causes, according to his death certificate, which named him as "Boy Gregory." He suffered from a rare genetic disorder called Pfeiffer syndrome.

Pfeiffer syndrome is so rare that it only occurs in one out of 100,000 births. It is a genetic mutation that causes the bones of the skull to fuse prematurely, causing pressure on the brain. Children with Pfeiffer syndrome usually have obvious head and facial abnormalities, such as high, prominent cheek bones and protrusion of the eyes. Some children with Pfeiffer do live, but their prognosis is usually poor.

In the case of Prince's son, the birth certificate names the mother as "Mia Gregory" but has no father listed. There is seemingly no explanation for this, as Prince himself told Oprah Winfrey that the child was a boy when he gave her a tour of his estate and showed her the child's playroom. When Oprah asked where the boy was, Prince gave a cryptic reply.

"We have a long way to go; there will be many more children..."

Sadly, Prince and Mayte divorced after their son's death, and it is presumed that Prince has no other children, living or dead. However, Prince once stated that the world would know nothing about his children, such as the statement he made in November 1996.

"Whenever we give birth to our children, the world won't know their names, their sex, anything. Our child has to make those decisions."

Is it possible, then, that Prince had children that the world doesn't know about? Prince sued the nannies who released information about the baby, stating that they had violated a confidentiality agreement. The baby was cremated shortly after his death, and there was a three-month-long investigation of his death, which was found to be from natural causes due to Pfeiffer syndrome. It is unknown where the child's cremains are. Prince's ex-wife has spoken of their son since Prince's death, so perhaps more information will emerge.

[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]