Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images, Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

News broke Thursday that Prince has died at the age of 57. As word spread, tributes poured in from the late star’s friends, colleagues, and contemporaries, including his longtime collaborator and confidant, Sheena Easton.

Easton, who worked with Prince on songs like “The Arms of Orion” and “U Got the Look,” released a statement to EW about his death.

“It is impossible to imagine him not being here. The world of music was forever changed the day he picked up his guitar. His talent was breathtaking, his heart was kind, and all of us have been blessed to have had a glimpse into this sweet and magical soul.”

While there was constant speculation the two musicians were romantically involved, they maintained over the decades that their relationship was rooted in professional creativity and a close personal friendship.

“When you work with Prince, he’s one of those kind of guys that likes to keep you off guard. You’d get the phone call saying ‘Hey, come down to the studio. There’s something I’d want you to hear,'” Easton, 56, said in an interview with the Windy City Times. “When he’d write a song, he’d just go down to the studio and record it… He was a very flexible person, very open to the creative process.”