Tina Turner, the groundbreaking singer who held the title of “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll” died on Wednesday at her home in Küsnacht, Switzerland. She was 83.
The news was announced by her publicist Bernard Doherty in a statement, writing that “the world” lost “a music legend and a role model.” Doherty didn’t reveal the cause of death but Turner has had numerous health issues over the years. She was diagnosed with intestinal cancer in 2016 and had a kidney transplant in 2017.
One of the most beloved artists in music history, Tina Turner was known for her swaggering and unstoppable energy. Over the course of her 50 year career, Turner was one of the best selling artists of all time with over 100 million records sold worldwide. She’s received 12 Grammy Awards, including three Hall-of-Fame awards and a Lifetime Achievement award. She also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She is the first Black artist and first woman to be on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and is ranked amongst the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
She has recorded countless iconic records throughout her career. This includes classics like “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” “Private Dancer,” “We Don’t Need Another Hero, and “The Best.”
Born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26th, 1939 in Brownsville, Tennessee, she was the youngest of three children. When she was 16, she moved to St. Louis where she lived with her mother. It would be in St. Louis where she would frequent nightclubs with her sister and eventually meet Ike Turner, who was performing with his band, the Kings of Rhythm.
In 1957, after performing B.B. King’s ballad “You Know I Love You,” Tina was asked to join the band as a featured vocalist. Anna Mae soon changed her named to Tina Turner. She also started a romantic relationship with Ike and the two married in 1962. From 1960 to 1976, the duo dominated the Chitlin’ Circuit as the Ike and Tina Turner Revue with a rigorous touring schedule that rivaled The James Brown Revue. Their profile rose with their Phil Spector assisted-appearance in the concert film The Big T.N.T. Show. Following their appearance on the show, the couple would sign with Spector’s label where they would release hits such as “River Deep Mountain High,” “Honky Tonk Woman,” and “Proud Mary.”
Due to domestic violence and Ike’s addiction, the duo divorced in 1978. By the late ’70s, Tina headlined a series of cabaret shows at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Tina’s resurgence into the mainstream would come with her 1984 album Private Dancer. Over the decades, she’d make appearances in films such asMad Max Beyond Thunderdome andwas inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame twice (in 1991 with Ike Turner and in 2021 as a solo artist). In 1986 she released her autobiography I, Tina which was later turned into What’s Love Got to Do with It which starred Angela Bassett. In 2005, Tina was recognized by the Kennedy Center Honors and in 2008 she had one of the best-selling tours of all time with the Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour before retiring officially in 2009.
In 2021, she sold her music rights for BMG for an estimated $50 million dollars.
She is preceded in death by her sons Craig Raymond Turner and Ronald “Ronnie” Turner. She is survived by her adopted sons Ike Jr and Michael Turner, two grandchildren, and her husband Erwin Bach, whom she married in 2013.
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