Legendary rock and soul singer and actress Tina Turner has died at the age of 83. Turner’s passing was confirmed in a statement shared on her official social media channels. “With her music and her boundless passion for life, she enchanted millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow,” it read. “Today we say goodbye to a dear friend who leaves us all her greatest work: her music.”
Turner’s passing was also confirmed by her family in a statement to Rolling Stone, saying that the singer “died peacefully” following a “long illness” at her home in Küsnacht, Switzerland. “With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model,” they added.
Turner Died at Her Home in Küsnacht, Switzerland
Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock in 1939 in Tennessee, later relocating to St. Louis, Missouri. It was there she met Ike Turner in the late ’50s, while he was performing with his band the Kings of Rhythm at a nightclub. The pair began recording music together, with her first vocal credit being on 1958 single ‘Boxtop’ under the name Little Ann.
She adopted the stage name Tina Turner in 1960 with the release of single ‘A Fool in Love’. The song was originally penned by Ike Turner for Art Lassiter, but after Lassiter failed to show up for the recording session, Tina suggested she sing lead vocals on the track. The song reached 27 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Turner rose to fame in the 1960s alongside then-husband Ike. Following the success of ‘A Fool in Love’, they released a string of hits such as ‘I Idolize You’, ‘It’s Gonna Work Out Fine’, ‘Poor Fool’ and ‘Nutbush City Limits’. Their most successful album together, Workin’ Together, arrived in 1970 and featured their Grammy-winning single ‘Proud Mary’.
Turner released her debut solo album, Tina Turns the Country On! in 1974, and released four more solo records by the turn of the decade. In 1976, following a tumultuous marriage marked by Ike Turner’s substance issues and abusive behaviour towards his wife, the couple had a physical altercation en route to a hotel in Dallas, where they were to perform. Turner fled Ike and filed for divorce, which was finalised in 1978.
In 1984, Turner released her “comeback” album Private Dancer. The album, which featured her hit ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It’, situated Turner as a viable solo star following her split with Ike, and saw her heavily incorporate the nascent rock influences that had appeared in her earlier work. Dubbed the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, Turner went on to release 10 solo albums throughout her life, with the final being 1999’s Twenty Four Seven.
Selling over 100 million records worldwide, Turner is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, with her work spanning rock, pop and R&B. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, with Ike Turner in 1991 and as a solo artist in 2021. She was also an actress, appearing in the films Tommy in 1975 and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome in 1985.
Turner’s best-selling memoir I, Tina was released in 1986. What’s Love Got to Do with It, a biographical film adaptation, was released in 1993 starring Angela Bassett. She retired from performing in 2009 after a farewell tour that was the 15th-highest-grossing tour of the 2000s. In 2018, she was the subject of the musical Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. The musical is currently being staged in Sydney at the Theatre Royal.
Since news of her death emerged, there has been an outpouring of tributes for Turner. The Rolling Stones‘ Mick Jagger remembered her as “an enormously talented performer and singer” who was “inspiring, warm, funny and generous.” Questlove, on Instagram, wrote: “Survivor. The King & Queen. She was everything… What an AMAZING life.”
“The words legendary, iconic, diva, and superstar are often overused and yet Tina Turner embodies them all and so many more – an incredible performer, musician and trailblazer,” tweeted Mariah Carey. “To me, she will always be a survivor and an inspiration to women everywhere. Her music will continue to inspire generations to come.”
“My very first introduction to a rock Goddess, the sheer power of your irrepressible spirit seared in forever,” Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ Karen O wrote in a tribute she shared on Instagram. “Thank you and rest easy.”
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