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Prince Dies, Baby Boomers Scramble

by Sheridan Cyr

Another great hero of music has left us. Prince Rogers Nelson passed away last Wednesday at the young age of 57, stirring up the music industry and yanking at the heartstrings of fans.

Prince’s passing comes in a growing line of celebrities’ unexpected deaths. David Bowie and Alan Rickman were both 69 at the time of their deaths earlier this year.

These deaths are arguably hitting the baby boomer generation the hardest, as these celebrities served as their idols and heroes. The pattern has people wondering, ‘who’s next?’

Joan Didion wrote in “The Year of Magical Thinking,” “When we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. As we were. As we are no longer. As we will one day not be at all.”

This rings true with recent events. With the cascading of these idols into the collections of obituaries, a sense of youth and cherished memories of childhood go, too.

It is no secret that music has a powerful ability unlike any other medium to change a person. You have that one song you listen to when you’re sad. The tune that came on during your cousin’s wedding that you danced to with your dad and makes you smile whenever you listen to it. Remember when you just broke up with your significant other and that one unfitting Justin Bieber song could be heard in the distance, and now every time you hear it, you twist up your face in resentment? Music sticks with you. Music changes who you are, even if you aren’t a musician yourself.

Losing Prince broke the hearts of many. It left some feeling abandoned and left others terrified for themselves and others around them. Los Angeles Times writer Mary Laura Philpott wrote, “Celebrity deaths alarm and sadden us because as they add up, they threaten to deliver us to the unavoidable.”

Her concerns, she explained, lie more in the lives of her parents than with herself. She described some of the most meaningful things her parents have done for her and thanked them, promising to call later.

Prince’s remains were cremated on Saturday after a small funeral attended by close friends and family, a private memorial in respect to the very private life the rockstar lived. The star’s cause of death is still unclear. CNN reported that he was last seen at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday night getting dropped off outside at Paisley Park, his home and recording studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota. The next morning, a staff member reported that he was found unresponsive in an elevator. No one saw it coming. The eerie mystery leaves fans distraught, incomplete and afraid for what is to come.