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Tina Turner dead at 83

By Ben Marquis
|
May 25, 2023

Tina Turner, the iconic and legendary singer dubbed the "Queen of Rock & Roll," passed away on Wednesday at the age of 83, the Daily Mail reported.

The award-winning songstress and actress is said to have died "peacefully" at her home in Switzerland following a long but unspecified illness.

Death Announced by Family

A statement posted to Turner's official Instagram page said, "It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Tina Turner. With her music and her boundless passion for life, she enchanted millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow. Today we say goodbye to a dear friend who leaves us all her greatest work: her music. All our heartfelt compassion goes out to her family. Tina, we will miss you dearly."

Rolling Stone reported that Turner's family said in a statement, "Tina Turner, the ‘Queen of Rock & Roll’ has died peacefully today at the age of 83 after a long illness in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland. With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model."

It is unclear what, specifically, caused Turner's death, but within the past decade or so she was known to have suffered from a stroke, dealt with kidney failure, and battled intestinal cancer, among other ailments.

From Sharecroppers' Daughter to Award-Winning Legend

Born in 1939 as Anna Mae Bullock to a family of sharecroppers in rural Nutbush, Tennessee, Turner moved to Brownsville, Tennessee at the age of 13 to live with her grandmother after being separately abandoned by both her mother and father as they searched for other job opportunities, per Rolling Stone.

Turner first pursued a career in nursing but ended up in the music industry by chance when, at the age of 18, she met Ike Turner and his band, Kings of Rythm, at a nightclub in the St. Louis, Missouri area and soon began to sing with them.

An initially friendly relationship with Ike eventually turned romantic and they were married in 1962, but things quickly soured after that as Ike, who had convinced "Little Ann" to change her stage name to "Tina," began to display the emotionally manipulative and controlling behavior, replete with repeated physical and mental abuse, that ultimately led to her leaving him and their eventual divorce in 1976.

Turner struggled at first to launch a solo career following her split from the man that she acknowledges helped her gain fame, but eventually enjoyed a resurgent career in the 1980s following the release of her "Private Dancer" album that included such hits as "What's Love Got To Do With It" and made her a staple on MTV.

She would go on to record and release several more successful albums, toured relentlessly around the world for decades, star in a couple of movies, release multiple memoirs, and be honored for her works with dozens of awards, including numerous Grammys and induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Honored and Remembered by Celebrity Friends and Fans

According to The Hollywood Reporter, condolences for and fond memories of Tina Turner quickly poured in from dozens of celebrities who personally knew her or credited her with blazing the path for their success in the music industry or Hollywood.

One example came from actress Angela Bassett, who portrayed Turner in an Oscar-nominated performance in the 1993 movie "What's Love Got To Do With It," and said in a statement, "How do we say farewell to a woman who owned her pain and trauma and used it as a means to help change the world?"

"Through her courage in telling her story, her commitment to stay the course in her life, no matter the sacrifice, and her determination to carve out a space in rock and roll for herself and for others who look like her, Tina Turner showed others who lived in fear what a beautiful future filled with love, compassion, and freedom should look like," she continued.

"Her final words to me -- for me -- were ‘You never mimicked me. Instead, you reached deep into your soul, found your inner Tina, and showed her to the world.’ I shall hold these words close to my heart for the rest of my days," Bassett added. "I am honored to have known Tina Turner. I am humbled to have helped show her to the world. So on today, while we mourn the loss of this iconic voice and presence, she gave us more than we could have ever asked. She gave us her whole self. And Tina Turner is a gift that will always be “simply the best.” Angels, sing thee to thy rest … Queen."

Love and Loss

In a statement to Rolling Stone, Turner's longtime manager Roger Davies said, "Tina was a unique and remarkable force of nature with her strength, incredible energy and immense talent. From the first day I met her in 1980 she believed in herself completely when few others did at that time. It was a privilege and an honor to have been a close friend as well as her manager for more than 30 years. I will miss her deeply."

Per the Daily Mail, Davies introduced Turner to German music executive Erwin Bach in the mid-80s and the pair almost immediately fell in love and spent the rest of their lives together -- ultimately getting married in 2013 -- and first lived in Germany before settling in a massive estate in Switzerland.

Turner is survived by Bach, who donated one of his kidneys to her in 2017, but was preceded in death by her first husband Ike in 2007, as well as her two sons, Raymond Craig, who committed suicide in 2018, and Ike Jr., who died from colon cancer in 2022.