Fans of Prince paid their respects to the iconic singer's memory on the first anniversary of his death on 21 April. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's ex-wife Mayte Garcia – The Most Beautiful Girl in the World – has now also come forward with a "love letter to his legacy".
In the piece, originally published by Billboard magazine, the former dancer describes her time with the Purple One and his passion for music and art. "Prince was beloved and revered in a way that few artists ever have been or likely ever will be," she wrote.
Garcia recalls how she met her future husband at one of his concerts. "We became pen-pals and friends and I got to know the man. As beautiful as the artist was, I realised that the man was even more so," she explained of the 1980s and 1990s sex symbol, who died at age 57.
"Many people felt that Prince wanted to remain a mystery but when I was with him, he wanted something else: to share our love and start a family. Those aren't mysterious things. It's what most of us want." Garcia and Prince were married from 1996 to 2000. They had a son named Ahmir Gregory Nelson who was born with Pfeiffer syndrome and died a week after his birth on 16 October, 1996.
Her letter comes on the heels of her bestselling memoir The Most Beautiful: My Life With Prince, which sheds light on their romance.
Read Garcia's full letter below:
"If you ever lose someone dear to you,
never say the words 'they're gone'...
they'll come back, yeah."
My husband wrote those lyrics in 1997 after the loss of our son, Amiir. The first time I heard Comeback, which he recorded at Paisley Park, my heart fell. The beauty and power of the song deeply moved me but at the time, it was too raw and for me, too soon. Writing the song allowed him to grieve about Amiir in a way that was difficult for him to do in person, even with me, his wife. But music was his refuge. It's what he knew how to do – what he had to do – as an artist.
And people loved him for it. I've had the chance to meet so many of his fans over the years – his "fam" as he called them, short for family, of course, because to Prince, they were. They were much more to him than simply "fans" or "admirers." I believe they always felt that.
And they returned that love right back, tenfold. Prince was beloved and revered in a way that few artists ever have been or likely ever will be. Online communities dedicated to his music and to his art are thriving. He was selling out shows and touring relentlessly up until his last days.
I'd started out as an admirer of Prince the artist myself – first as a kid dancing to Purple Rain on the radio along with the rest of the world, then years later as a dancer, when I was lucky enough to meet him backstage at a concert. We became pen-pals and friends and I got to know the man. As beautiful as the artist was, I realised that the man was even more so. Many people felt that Prince wanted to remain a mystery but when I was with him, he wanted something else: to share our love and start a family. Those aren't mysterious things. It's what most of us want.
This month, on the one-year since his all-too-soon passing, and with all the media surrounding the anniversary, I wanted to, in some small way, leave an impression of light and of love which is what he was. Prince was many things: an artist, an amazing friend, the love of my life and family. I wanted to write a love letter to his legacy. Mystery is often cloaked in darkness. I wanted to share the light.
No one could make me laugh like that man. His personal pranks are legendary. He was also the guy who stole the pants out of my closet and had them altered to fit him (and left me with high-waters!). He loved to spend hours talking about the nature of truth, the universe, and past lives with me. He was a generous artist who always tried to lift up other, less-established artists and give them opportunities to see and be seen. And he was, of course, a musical genius. That's indisputable.
I broke my silence this month to talk about my time with Prince for one reason: I wanted to make sure something beautiful came out of his story (and our story together). If you look at his music, you will see the dimensions of this special man. He laid it all bare for us to understand, in his lyrics and in his melodies.
None of us can stay in this world forever, but in his music and his singular art, Prince has left a legacy that will live on for centuries to come. In this way, he will always be with us.
"Never say the words ... they're gone... they'll come back, yeah."
-- Mayte Garcia
April 21, 2017