The purple one lives on! Prince was honored during the 59th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, February 12, nine months after he died unexpectedly at the age of 57 on April 21, 2016, with an electric and energetic performance by Morris Day and the Time and Bruno Mars.
The iconic musician’s Purple Rain costars/contemporaries Morris Day and the Time kicked off the tribute by performing hits “Jungle Love” and “The Bird” before Mars, dressed in a purple sequin blazer and wearing black eyeliner, joined them to perform an impressive rendition of Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.”
The group’s rousing performance — especially Mars’ eerie channeling of Prince’s onstage essence — had everyone in the audience, including Beyoncé and Jay Z, on their feet dancing.
As previously reported, Prince died on April 21, 2016, from “self-administered” fentanyl toxicity. A law-enforcement official told the Associated Press that after multiple tests, investigators determined that the “Purple Rain” singer’s addiction to painkiller medications was what ultimately led to his death. Prince, who was found unconscious inside an elevator at his Paisley Park estate in Chanhassen, Minnesota, also had Percocet in his system.
The legendary singer’s close friends were aware of his addiction to painkillers, which started after he began taking medication for a hip injury. “[Prince] took the pills to keep the show going,” his longtime friend and musical collaborator Sky Dangcil previously told Us Weekly, adding that “everyone saw that his hips were turning into a bigger problem. He was always ‘on,’ so he wouldn’t complain or say anything was wrong.”
The awards show also paid tribute to fellow late icon George Michael, who passed away at the age of 53 on December 25, 2016. As previously reported, Adele performed a slowed-down rendition of the icon’s hit “Fastlove, pt. 1” and, after flubbing the performance, stopped the show while cursing into the mic, asking if she could please restart to do the icon justice.
“George Michael and Prince were pop icons who showcased rare musical genius and otherworldly charisma,” Neil Portnow, president/CEO of the Recording Academy, said in a press release ahead of their tributes. “While each possessed a distinct style and sound, they were both adored by audiences worldwide. The passings of two such creative innovators were a huge loss for the creative community; the Recording Academy is humbled to pay homage to their tremendous legacies on the Grammy stage.”
Watch the impressive tribute above.