Tina Turner, the legendary rock and soul singer dubbed the Queen of Rock ’n’ Roll, died last week in her home in Zurich, according to a statement issued by her family. She was 83.
Representatives said the singer who in more recent years had survived a stroke, a kidney transplant and intestinal cancer died of natural causes.
“With her music and her boundless passion for life, she enchanted millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow,” her family wrote on Turner’s official Instagram account. “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.”
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Turner shook up the music industry early in her career with a series of hits she recorded in the 1960s and 1970s with her abusive then husband Ike Turner, whom she divorced in 1978, according to a CNN article. Subsequently, Turner’s solo career took off with her 1984 multiplatinum album, Private Dancer, and its No. 1 hit “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” Women around the world connected with Turner’s honesty and resiliency following her public divorce.
Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock in 1939 in Nutbush, Tennessee, and as a child lived with her grandmother after her parents broke up. When her grandmother died, Turner and her sister Ruby moved to St. Louis, where Turner began frequenting local clubs at age 17 and was recruited by Ike to sing in his band.
In her autobiography, Turner shared that her relationship with Ike was physically abusive almost from the start. Before their divorce, the pair produced a number of R&B hits including “A Fool In Love” and “Proud Mary,” the Creedence Clearwater Revival cover that won them a Grammy and reached No. 4 on the pop charts.
Turner remained with Ike for more than a decade before leaving him in a hotel room in 1976 with just 36 cents and a credit card in her pocket, according to CNN.
Although her divorce drained her financially and emotionally, Turner persevered to become more successful than ever. In 1985, she costarred with Mel Gibson in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and performed with Mick Jagger at the benefit concert Live Aid. The following year, she published the bestselling memoir I, Tina, which was adapted into the hit 1993 film What’s Love Got To Do With It, starring Angela Basset as Tina.
In the 1990s, Turner moved to Switzerland with her German boyfriend, record executive Erwin Back. The two married in 2013 after 27 years together. “I left America because my [biggest] success was in another country, and my boyfriend was in another country. Europe has been very supportive of my music,” she said in a 1997 interview with Larry King.
Turner’s sons Craig and Ronnie died in 2018 and 2022, respectively. “Some of the happiest moments in my life were the birth of my beautiful baby boys, Craig and Ronnie, and marrying my partner and soul mate, Erwin Bach,” she said on NBC’s Today Show in 2021.
“One of my early career goals was to become the first Black woman to fill stadiums around the world,” she told NBC. “At the time, it seemed impossible. But I never gave up, and I’m so happy I made that dream come true.”