Photographer Gene Ho reflects on life and legacy of close friend Prince

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW & AP)- Music Icon Prince was found unresponsive late Thursday morning in an elevator on this first floor of his home, after staff members were unable to get a hold of the musician.

Prince’s death at age 57 has sparked an outpouring of grief from fans, with hundreds gathering outside his studio and in downtown Minneapolis and many more posting remembrances on social networks.

Buildings around the country were lit up Thursday night in his signature purple. Locally, in Myrtle Beach Photographer Gene Ho recalls the bond he shared with Prince in their 15 year friendship.

“I mean as far as him as a person, he’s about as laid back and as nice as you can ever imagine. He had a tremendous public persona but one-on-one he’s totally different,” Gene Ho said.

Gene told News13 the two met 15 years ago when Prince was studying to be a Jehovah’s Witness. Gene says Prince was a very spiritual man and that it what they bonded over the most.

“Without a doubt. It’s the spirituality portion of it. Prince had a lot of challenges with a lot of people don’t much about it because he kept it quiet but he did Bible Studies. He was at the church giving talks, going door to door.”

Gene says he will remember Prince as a very humble and quiet person who was always a good friend no matter who came around.

“One of the times I was talking to him and Chris Tucker was there and Chris Tucker went in there and wanted to say hello to him. Prince didn’t care, if was talking to you he was talking to you,” Gene said.

Even having close ties and mutual friends in Myrtle Beach.

“The best part about it is that he has tremendous ties to this area. I don’t think a lot of people know. Prince, his base player has a home here in Myrtle Beach. He’s a neighbor of mine, he’s a friend. We’re still friends to this day,” Gene said.

Gene says he will remember Prince the man, the friend and the musician with an incomparably legacy.

“There’s absolutely no question, he’s a once in a generation type of artist. He is probably the most amazing musician of all time and definitely our generation.”

Authorities say there were no signs of trauma on Prince’s body when he was found unresponsive at his home, and that suicide isn’t suspected in the musician’s death.

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