By Kim Glovas


PHILADELPHIA (CBS)Why is the death of Prince taking such a toll on the psyche of so many, when we didn’t know him personally?

Doctor Courtney Slater is assistant professor at the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology at Widener University. She says Prince’s music spanned a couple of generations, but that’s only part of the puzzle.

“He was able to talk about very intense topics, like God and religion, spirituality and gender, and bending gender ideas and a lot about sex, a lot of sexual metaphors, and so he blended all of those in a very intense kind of way,” Slater said.

Messages left by Prince fans as they pay their respects outside the Paisley Park residential compound in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on April 22, 2016. Prince died April 21, 2016. / AFP / Mark Ralston (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Messages left by Prince fans as they pay their respects outside the Paisley Park residential compound in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on April 22, 2016.
Prince died April 21, 2016. / AFP / Mark Ralston (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Slater says because he was so outspoken, it made him more powerful to his fans, and contributed greatly to his status as “icon.” She says his cultural, social and political ideals also gave people hope and courage. And that is what many are mourning.

A Prince fan attaches flowers to a memorial wall as she pays her respects outside the Paisley Park residential compound in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on April 22, 2016. Prince died April 21, 2016. / AFP / Mark Ralston (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

A Prince fan attaches flowers to a memorial wall as she pays her respects outside the Paisley Park residential compound in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on April 22, 2016.
Prince died April 21, 2016. / AFP / Mark Ralston (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)