“We are saddened to hear about the death of Prince Rogers Nelson, who was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2003,” a church spokesperson, David A. Semonian, said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
Semonian said that Prince “found fulfillment as a Witness and in sharing his faith with others.”
The statement continued:
“We do not have any details regarding his medical condition or the cause of his death. Our thoughts are with his family and friends, particularly his fellow worshippers in the Saint Louis Park congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Minnesota. We hope that all find comfort in the Bible’s promise of a future time when death, pain, and tears will be no more.—Revelation 21:3, 4.”
The public first heard of Prince’s conversion back in 2001, but people seemed to have a hard time believing Prince of all people – based on the racy songs he had written – was now a devout Jehovah’s Witness.
Prince said that he did not consider it a conversion, but a “realization.” “It’s like Morpheus and Neo in The Matrix”, he explained. He attended meetings at a local Kingdom Hall and occasionally knocked on people’s doors to discuss his faith.
Interestingly, on Oct. 5, 2003, a couple in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, opened their door at 2 p.m. to find Prince standing on their doorstep, Bible in hand. Here’s how People describes the encounter:
Needless to say, they were shocked. Compounding their surprise: They were Jewish, it was Yom Kippur and the Vikings were playing.
Jehovah’s Witness Church Release Statement Over Prince’s Death, Says He ‘Found Fulfillment Sharing His Faith With Others’| Sly and the Family Stone, Music, Prince
“My first thought is, ‘Cool, cool, cool. He wants to use my house for a set,'” the woman, identified only as Rochelle, recalled to the paper. “Then they [Prince was accompanied by Graham on this particular outing] start in on this Jehovah’s Witnesses stuff.”
“They stayed for about 25 minutes,” Rochelle continued. “Left us a pamphlet.”
As we previously reported, Prince died April 21 at the age of 57. Following an autopsy, his remains were cremated; their location will be kept private.