(KMSP) – The extended musical family of Prince came together after the icon’s death, helping one of their own struggling with a debilitating disease.
“We spent more time with [these guys] than our families. So when it comes to a situation we need to do something to help each other out, we are always willing to work it out because it’s like family,” said Morris Hayes, former Prince band member.
Michael Van Huffel is a former artist and graphic designer who once worked for Prince at Paisley Park.
Van Huffel is struggling with a neuro-immune disease, and this past weekend, a few of Prince’s former musicians played a special set to raise money for their “brother.”
“We’re going to do some jamming for Michael Van Huffel…and who knows? I could be the one someone has to come look out for one day,” Hayes said.
According to an online fundraising page for Michael, the graphic designer’s medical condition has ravaged his life to the point he rarely leaves his home.
His friends say he was a big part of the art team that designed Prince albums such as The Gold Experience and Emancipation. His medical battle and financial struggles caught the attention of long-time Prince fan Corey Tollefson who organized the event.
“The old adage that Prince used to have in the mid-90’s was this term ‘love for one another,’ and this is a perfect example where we could all come together,” he said.
To celebrate his 40th birthday, Tollefson connected with Hayes, rounded up a couple of other artists who once worked with the man himself – including Chance Howard – and turned his small, private party into a fundraiser for Van Huffel.
Guests donated a few thousand dollars during the hour-long jam session that those insist would have made Prince proud.
“He’s our guy. We bleed purple. Just as much as people love the Twins and the Vikings, people love Prince. It’s been a long journey and people are starting to come together. There is a realization that he is not here, but his spirit is here,” Tollefson said.