Legendary singer Tina Turner has died. She was 83.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Tina Turner,” read a statement on the singer’s Instagram account on Wednesday, May 24, alongside a black-and-white photo of the iconic songstress. “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.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Turner’s rep released a statement announcing her death.
“Tina Turner, the ‘Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ has died peacefully today at the age of 83 after a long illness in her home in Kusnacht near Zurich, Switzerland.” Her spokesperson, Bernard Doherty, added: “With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model.”
Turner had a long and successful career. However, the star also battled through some difficult health issues throughout her life.
In 2013, three weeks after her wedding to Erwin Bach, the “What’s Love Got to Do with It” singer suffered from a stroke and had to learn to walk again.
Three years later, in 2016, Turner was diagnosed with both intestinal cancer and kidney failure.
“I had no pain but my body was reacting from cancer in the colon, from kidney failure. It sounds like it continues and goes on and it does … Then they came up with there was cancer in the colon, both kidneys were already gone and the kidney takes care of cleansing the body,” the Tennessee native wrote in her 2018 memoir, Tina Turner: My Love Story. “All of that had started to toxify. So it was on its way. I said I’m ready to go if it’s time. My mother and sister have gone. Erwin said, ‘No, I don’t want another partner,’ so it went on and on.” The “Proud Mary” singer and the music executive, 66, dated for 27 years before tying the knot in 2013.
Turner had kidney transplant surgery in April 2017 and went into a full remission.
The “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll” – born Anna Mae Bullock – kicked off her singing career at 18 years old, singing with the band Kings of Rhythm led by future husband Ike Turner in 1957. One year later, Tina gave birth to her first son, Craig, whom she shared with saxophonist Raymond Hill, a musician in Kings of Rhythm.
Tina began a relationship with Ike in 1960 and welcomed their son Ronnie in October of that year. The twosome married in Tijuana in 1962. In her 1986 memoir, I, Tina, the singer revealed that Ike was abusive throughout their whole relationship and the abuse led to her suicide attempt in 1968. In July 1976, Tina filed for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.
In July 1960, Tina released her first single with Ike, “A Fool in Love,” which landed them on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. After the success of their first hit, Ike created the Ike & Tina Turner Revue which was a combination of Kings of Rhythm and the girl group the Ikettes. In 1964, the band signed with Loma Records run by Bob Krasnow where they achieved their first charting album Live! The Ike & Tina Turner Show.
After years of physical abuse perpetrated by Ike and a messy divorce, Tina released her debut solo album Private Dancer in 1984. It was a groundbreaking success and won the rock and roll singer three Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year and Best Female Vocal Performance for “What’s Love Got to Do with It.” She went on to create many other hit albums including Break Every Rule (1986) and Foreign Affair (1989).
Ike and Tina were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, and she received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2005. The Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome star also was given a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement in 2018. In 2021, Tina was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo performer.
Apart from her extensive musical career, Tina penned two autobiographies as well as the self-help book Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good (2020). Tina, a jukebox musical, was also written about her life and debuted on Broadway in 2019. Two years later, she was the subject of the HBO documentary Tina.
In addition to her health issues and the abuse she endured from her ex-husband Tina suffered more hardship when her son Craig was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in July 2018. He was 59.
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“My saddest moment as a mother,” the singer tweeted alongside a picture of her spreading Craig’s ashes off the side of a boat. “On Thursday, July 19 2018, I said my final goodbye to my son, Craig Raymond Turner, when I gathered with family and friends to scatter his ashes off the coast of California. He was fifty-nine when he died so tragically, but he will always be my baby.”
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