Prince tribute
A makeshift memorial is seen as fans gather at Harlem's Apollo Theater to celebrate the life of Prince Reuters/Andrew Kelly

People across the world have been mourning the death of music legend Prince, who was found dead at his home in Minnesota on 21 April. While the cause of death is yet to be determined, fans have been paying tribute to the 57-year-old in a number of ways, particularly through using the colour purple in reference to his well-known song Purple Rain.

In the hours after the music icon's death, a petition was started in New York urging Apple to introduce a Prince emoji to honour his life. The petition has gained more than 3,000 signatures in just 13 hours, with many providing their own reasons for why they think an emoji is the best way to pay tribute to the star.

Erik Bartsch, who started the petition, wrote: "As we all know, Prince changed his name to a symbol for many years due to copyright issues. This symbol can represent in a single emoji everything Prince means to so many."

Bartsch was referring to Prince's decision in 1993 to change his name to a "Love Symbol", which was a merge of the symbols for female and male genders. According to the BBC, the decision was made in rebellion against his record label, Warner Bros, which Prince believed he had become a "slave" to and felt as though it had trademarked his name.

In a press release, Prince said: "The first step I have taken towards the ultimate goal of emancipation from the chains that bind me to Warner Bros was to change my name from Prince to (symbol). Prince is the name my mother gave me at birth. Warner Bros took the name, trademarked it, and used it as the main marketing tool to promote all the music that I wrote. The company owns the name Prince and all related music marketed under Prince. I became merely a pawn used to produce more money for Warner Bros."

A number of fans have supported the idea of an emoji based on this, pointing out that Prince is a part of pop culture that the world knows today. Others have pointed out that Michael Jackson has an emoji, and so Prince should have one too.

Todd Holscher from Bentonville, Arkansas, said: "Every time somebody tells me about a new trend or music style, you can send back this emoji and ask, 'Didn't Prince already do that?'"