"He said that his music will live on and he will live through his music, so we want to keep him alive today through this song," Hudson said.
The cast then launched into the hit tune, with the audience joining in in honor of the singer, who was found dead at his home in Minneapolis on Thursday.
While the cause of death is not known at this time, Prince's private plane made an emergency landing at Quad City International Airport in Moline, Illinois, last Friday morning, as the singer was en route home from a concert in Atlanta.
See how other stars reacted to Prince's death:
He was rushed to a nearby hospital and had apparently been experiencing flu symptoms, which worsened during the flight. He was released from the hospital after three hours.
Read original story Jennifer Hudson and 'Color Purple' Cast Honor Prince With 'Purple Rain' Performance (Video) At TheWrap