The 35-year-old singer took to social media to talk about the icon's incredible influence on his music, as well as the personal moments he spent with the notoriously private musician.
"Numb. Stunned. This can't be real," Timberlake first tweeted on Thursday.
Shortly after, the "Mirrors" singer wrote a lengthy tribute to Prince, which he shared on Instagram. Timberlake says he instantly loved Prince's hit "Raspberry Beret" at only four years old, and the Purple One went on to change his life. Music critics have often described Timberlake's 2006 album, FutureSex/LoveSounds, as reminiscent of Prince's distinct sound.
"More than a 'once in a lifetime' artist... Just a ONCE IN FOREVER ARTIST," Timberlake writes. "I'm still in shock as I write this and I feel this overwhelming grief. But, we should all turn away from that and HONOR this musician
that changed all of our lives, our perspectives, our feeling, our whole being."
then reminisces about the time he spent with the "When Doves Cry" singer, saying he was definitely not disappointed despite Prince's legendary status.
"They say don't meet your idols... That they let you down. But, some of my greatest, funniest (yes, he was hilarious), and most prolific encounters and conversations about music came from the moments that I spent with him," he shares. "It would be silly to say that he has inspired our music... It's beyond that. He's somewhere within every song I've ever written."
"I am sad, but I will smile when I think of every second that I had the fortune of being in his company," he continues. "We have lost our greatest living musician. But his music will never die. Prince, NOTHING COMPARES..."