Prince‘s passing back in April affected the lives of many – especially those who knew and loved him most.

Apollonia Kotero was one of those special people who had the honor of working closely with the icon for years, including in their Oscar-winning film Purple Rain. In a long, heartfelt letter posted to her Facebook on Monday, Prince’s protegé revealed her feelings about the loss of her dear friend and his impact on her life:

She wrote, “I miss you so much, the pain is unbearable, making it hard to breathe. Grief, depression, anger, and loneliness are like those bullies who taunted me in grade school. They have been relentless. My life has been a vortex of rage and despair. Waves of sadness washing away the pieces of my broken heart. My own personal hell on Earth.” 

Apollonia ended the emotional letter: “I promise to check in with you often. Finally surfed today. I thought about you there on the sand. Under the umbrella, watching me. Sand in your fro. Made me smile. I miss you Skipper Te Quiero mucho, Apollonia.”

On Monday, she made her first public appearance since Prince’s death at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater for Purple Rain: Celebration, a panel discussion/screening presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in Beverly Hills. Apollonia, who was the surprise guest, was joined by cast members Jerome Benton and Jill Jones, as well as the film’s writer/director Albert Magnoli and producer Robert Cavallo, as they reminisced about making the legendary film and working with Prince at such a pivotal time in his career.

She revealed to the crowd,I was the last person they saw for the audition [to find the Vanity replacement]. Later I learned they were flying me to Minneapolis to meet Prince, who takes me out for a ride in a purple limo. He was very reserved and shy. I’m like Chatty Cathy. The next day we do an audition at First Avenue. I wore black spandex and a metal mesh blouse. Later there’s a knock at my hotel door and it’s Chick from his security team: “The Kid likes you. Play it cool.”

SOURCE: Billboard | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Facebook

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