US President Barack Obama has led the tributes to music legend Prince, who has died at the age of 57, saying that the world has lost a creative icon.

President Obama wrote on Facebook: "Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly, or touched quite so many people with their talent. As one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time, Prince did it all. Funk. R&B. Rock and roll. He was a virtuoso instrumentalist, a brilliant bandleader, and an electrifying performer."

The President said that "nobody's spirit was stronger, bolder, or more creative" than Prince's. 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his band, and all who loved him," he concluded. 

TEN looks back at Prince's career

The news of Prince's sudden passing has been greeted with disbelief and sadness by celebrity fans and friends. Oprah Winfrey referenced one of his biggest hits in her tribute on Twitter:

TEN's special tribute gallery

Singer Katy Perry said the world had "lost a lot of magic", while Chic's Nile Rodgers described him as his brother.

Director Spike Lee also described Prince as his brother and said he was a "funny cat" with a "great sense of humor".

Prince and Spike Lee in 1988

Most of those paying tribute have hailed him as one of the greatest musicians of all time. TV host Ellen DeGeneres described him as "brilliant and larger than life" while Kiss bassist Gene Simmons described him as a "giant" of music. 

Irish singer-songwriter Jack L described him as the "greatest of all time", while The Voice UK coach and Culture Club singer Boy George said that, for him, it was "the worst day ever".

Justin Timberlake wrote a heartfelt post on Instagram, writing 

More than a "once in a lifetime" artist... Just a ONCE IN FOREVER ARTIST. I'm still in shock as I write this and I feel this overwhelming grief. But, we should all turn away from that and HONOR this musician that changed all of our lives, our perspectives, our feeling, our whole being. From another planet? Probably. Royalty, for sure. Us worthy..? Laughable.

Music producer Quincy Jones meanwhile described Prince as "a true artist in every sense of the word" and said he had "Gone way too soon."

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