6 Fascinating Facts About Prince You Didn't Know

Apr 21, 2016

Prince, the legendary recording artist, died Wednesday in Minneapolis at his Paisley Park home, according to his publicist. He was 57. Here, TIME has rounded-up some of the most surprising tidbits about the life of the Grammy Award-winning singer.

• “Skipper” was his nickname growing up.

• When he was 10 years old, he danced on stage with James Brown, the "Godfather of Soul."

• Spaghetti and orange juice was once “one of his favorite meals,” Purple Rain director Albert Magnoli told Spin magazine in 2009, who watched him order the strange combination once.

• At one point, he kept a yellow gnome "covered by a swarm of butterflies" in a guest bedroom, according to a 1985 Rolling Stone profile. "A friend gave that to me, and I put it in the living room," Prince told the magazine. "But some people said it scared them, so I took it out and put it in here."

Prince performs at the Bottom Line on Feb. 15, 1980 in New York City.
Prince performs at the Bottom Line on Feb. 15, 1980 in New York City.Waring Abbott—Getty Images
Prince performs at the Bottom Line on Feb. 15, 1980 in New York City.
Prince performs on Saturday Night Live on Feb. 21, 1981.
Prince performs onstage at the Palladium on Dec. 2, 1981 in New York City.
Prince in 1982.
Prince attends the premiere of Purple Rain on July 26, 1984 in Hollywood, Calif.
Promotional still for Purple Rain.
Prince in Under the Cherry Moon, 1986.
Prince and the Revolution perform on Aug. 17, 1986 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Prince performs at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 5, 1991 in Los Angeles.
Prince Charles, right, talks with Prince, left, at the "Diamonds are Forever" celebration on June 9, 1999 in London.
Beyoncé, right, and Prince perform at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 8, 2004 in Los Angeles.
From left: Tom Petty, Dhani Harrison and Prince perform during The 19th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in New York City on March 15, 2004. Prince was inducted into the Hall of Fame that evening.
PRINCE DIPrince arrives with his former wife Manuela Testolini for the 77th Academy Awards on Feb. 27, 2005 in Los Angeles.
Prince performs during the American Idol Season 5 Finale on May 24, 2006 in Hollywood, Calif.
Prince performs during half-time at Super Bowl XLI on February 4, 2007 in Miami, Fla.
Prince performs during half-time at Super Bowl XLI on February 4, 2007 in Miami, Fla.
Sheila E and Prince perform on June 1, 2007 in Pasadena, Calif.
Prince with comedian Dave Chappelle at the 2007 NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 18, 2007 in Las Vegas.
Prince during the 2015 American Music Awards on Nov. 22, 2015 in Los Angeles.
Prince performs at the Bottom Line on Feb. 15, 1980 in New York City.
Waring Abbott—Getty Images
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• The "When Doves Cry" singer kept actual doves, according to a Billboard's 2013 cover story. As the writer Gail Mitchell wrote:

I spy a large, nearly floor-to-ceiling white cage across the hall. At first it appears empty so I'm wondering just what kind of animal it had contained. Approaching closer, I can see white doves, at least four or five of them, chilling inside. Their coos echo ethereally through the building as I descend the stairs.

• He loved playing ping-pong. Once, he hit Michael Jackson in the crotch with a ball while trying to get the fellow pop legend to play a game with him, music journalist Ronin Ro wrote in the biography Prince: Inside the Music and the Masks. His most famous ping-pong match in recent years took place on the hit show New Girl. After reaching out to the show because he liked it so much, he got to school the show's star Zooey Deschanel in the art of table tennis, Entertainment Weekly reports.

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