John R. Nelson, Prince's oldest brother and one of his heirs, has died, his sister announced on Twitter Friday.
"It is with great sadness, we announce that our beloved brother Johnny R. Nelson received his heavenly wings tonight at 7:47 p.m.," Sharon L. Nelson tweeted Friday. "Johnny's loving personality and spirit shined brightly, and he fought hard to help preserve Prince's legacy."
John was Prince's half-brother, born in 1944 to Prince's father, John L. Nelson, and his first wife, Vivian. His death leaves Sharon and their sister Norrine as the music superstar's major remaining family heirs.
Prince's half-sister Lorna Nelson died in 2006 at the age of 63.
About half of Prince's estate is controlled by Primary Wave, a New York music company that owns rights to thousands of popular songs from artists ranging from Ray Charles to Nirvana.
The company bought 100% of the inheritance of Omarr Baker, the youngest of Prince's six siblings, and 100% of the late Alfred Jackson's inheritance. The company also acquired 90% of sister Tyka Nelson's share of the estate.
In the five years since Prince Rogers Nelson died of a fentanyl overdose without a will or direct descendants, his estate has been embroiled in legal disputes. Most recently, the IRS and the estate's administrator, Comerica Bank & Trust, have disagreed over its value. Comerica says it's worth $82.3 million, roughly half of what the IRS says it's worth.
In late June, the IRS and Comerica reached a partial settlement, agreeing on the value of the musician's real estate as $17.7 million. Still unresolved is the value of Prince's music and royalties, an issue that may wind up being decided in court.
Katy Read • 612-673-4583