(CNN) — Whoopi Goldberg said it best, echoing the thoughts of many: “This is what it sounds like when doves cry.”
This is what it sounds like when doves cry.. Prince R.I.P.
Condolences to his family & 2 us all
— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) April 21, 2016
She was far from the only person to invoke the indelible song to pay tribute to legendary musician Prince after news broke of his death on Thursday.
The opening lines of another monster hit, “Let’s Go Crazy,” also seemed to fit the circumstances: “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life…”
Within minutes, Prince’s profile picture on Twitter changed to remove his trademark glasses and reveal his third eye. It was a fitting symbol as expressions of grief and tributes reverberated through the Twitterverse.
Shock and denial was a prevalent theme. Comedian and Prince superfan Chris Rock summed up what everyone was feeling: “Say it isn’t so.”
Say it isn't so. pic.twitter.com/xdY0bYDtSO
— Chris Rock (@chrisrock) April 21, 2016
In paying tribute to his artistry, Michelle Branch and many others shared a story that goes like this: “When Eric Clapton was asked how it felt to be the world’s best guitarist he replied: ‘I don’t know. Ask Prince.’ ”
Chaka Khan and Russell Simmons were among those who bid farewell with “rest in Power.”
— 🎼 𝕮𝖍𝖆𝖐𝖆 𝕶𝖍𝖆𝖓 💜 (@ChakaKhan) April 21, 2016
Rest in power, Prince.
— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) April 21, 2016
Rapper Chuck D, a man of words, found himself speechless in response to the news: “It’s like the Earth is missing a note. Little to say — only thing to do is play.”
I'm a man of words I'm kinda speechless on losing #Prince it's like the Earth is missing a note. Little to say-only thing to do is play ….
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) April 21, 2016
To many, he was more than an entertainer, he was an outsider who showed it was OK — better, even — to stand out. And, as Anil Dash pointed out, he used his platform to promote women and people of color.
For the last few years of his life, Prince overwhelmingly used his platform to help promote the work of women, especially women of color.
— Anil Dash (@anildash) April 21, 2016
Amid the grief were expressions of gratitude, pure and simple.
Oh my god I can’t believe that Prince has died…he was a great great talent…RIP
— Billy Idol (@BillyIdol) April 21, 2016
I can't fucking breathe right now
— RootsPicnic2020 Now! (@questlove) April 21, 2016
Today is the worst day ever. Prince R.I.P I am crying!
— Boy George (Boomer) (@BoyGeorge) April 21, 2016
Dang it… Truly hate hearing we lost Prince. Sad day..
— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) April 21, 2016
RIP to @prince…a true artist in every sense of the word. Gone way too soon.
— Quincy Jones (@QuincyDJones) April 21, 2016
And just like that…the world lost a lot of magic ✨ Rest in peace Prince! Thanks for giving us so much…
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) April 21, 2016
Just heard about Prince ….can't believe it ……. – KU
— Keith Urban (@KeithUrban) April 21, 2016
I'm Crushed!! UK news reporting Prince Is Dead?! For Real?! Massive Loss for us all! What a Genius! Speechless.
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) April 21, 2016
— La Toya Jackson (@latoyajackson) April 21, 2016
Im sooooo very sad right now… PRINCE can't die.
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) April 21, 2016
Only now do we know what it sounds like When Doves Cry — the absence of music from loss of The Artist. RIP Prince (1958-2016)
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) April 21, 2016
My heart is broken. Prince man. One of the greatest. This one hurts like MJ.
— Steve Harvey (@IAmSteveHarvey) April 21, 2016
I'm so sad we've lost @prince the legend,the master,a musical juggernaut that knew no boundaries.He left indelible footprints in music.😔RIP
— Gloria Estefan (@GloriaEstefan) April 21, 2016
Numb. Stunned. This can't be real.
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) April 21, 2016