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John Nelson was the father of Prince. He died Saturday (August 25, 2001) at the age of 85 or 87 (I've seen conflicting reports).

Nelson was a jazz musician who began his career playing for the jazz group the Prince Rogers Trio in the 1950s. The band inspired his son's regal-sounding name. While he was with the trio that he met Mattie Shaw, his eventual wife. When Prince was a young boy, Nelson abandoned his family. Prince's 1984 film Purple Rain, which featured a physically abusive father character based on Nelson, told the accounts of Nelson and Shaw's rocky abusive marriage.

During Prince's rise to fame in the mid-'80s, Nelson reconciled with his son and became one of Prince's writing partners, contributing to the tracks "Computer Blue," "The Ladder," "Christopher Tracy's Parade," and "Scandalous."

Funeral plans were not made public.

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