April 21 (Reuters) - Social media users around the world mourned the death of U.S. pop music star Prince on Thursday.
Actors, musicians and celebrities quickly jumped on social media, expressing shock and sadness.
Actor-singer Will Smith said in a Facebook post that he was “stunned and heartbroken,” and had just spoken to Prince the night before his death.
“Today, Jada & I mourn with all of you the loss of a beautiful poet, a true inspiration, and one of the most magnificent artists to ever grace this earth,” he said.
“Prince” became the top-trending term on Twitter in the United States shortly after his death was reported. As of Thursday afternoon, his name had been tweeted more than 2.8 million times.
Veteran R&B artist Lionel Richie said on Twitter, “I can’t believe it, I’m in total shock. So many wonderful memories, I will miss him.”
Prince first found fame in the late 1970s, and over the next three decades became known as one of the most inventive and eccentric forces in American pop music.
“Numb. Stunned. This can’t be real,” added pop star Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake).
“This is what it sounds like when doves cry.. Prince R.I.P. Condolences to his family & 2 us all,” tweeted Whoopi Goldberg actress and television personality (@WhoopiGoldberg).
“Prince the doves really are crying now. Listening to your music. Remembering you. #RIPPrince,” tweeted Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah).
Rapper Lupe Fiasco, who is scheduled to perform in Minneapolis Thursday night, encouraged concert-goers to wear purple in honor of the artist’s iconic song “Purple Rain.”
“We gone put on for Prince tonight!” tweeted Fiasco (@LupeFiasco).
Prince, born Prince Rogers Nelson, was a beloved icon in his home state of Minnesota. Following the news of his death, the Minnesota Vikings National Football League team tweeted “We’ve lost a legend way too soon.”
Prince recorded a song about the Minnesota Vikings, “Purple and Gold,” in 2010.
Minnesota politicians also leapt on social media to mourn the state’s beloved native.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) from Minnesota tweeted, “Heartbroken to hear Prince has died. Hope he’s found his world of never ending happiness/You can always see the sun, day or night. #RIP.”
Minnesota Congressman Erik Paulsen (@RepErikPaulsen) tweeted about the impact the artist had on his home state.
“Prince was the first concert I ever went to,” Paulsen tweeted from his verified Twitter account. “As talented as they come and a Minnesota treasure. He’ll be missed.” (Reporting By Amy Tennery; additional reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr)