Trailblazing Singer From Tennessee Was 83

Tina Turner, the pioneering rock’n’roll singer from Tennessee who became a global superstar, has died after a long illness. She was 83.

Turner was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and had a kidney transplant in 2017. Reps for the singer posted a statement announcing her death on her official Facebook page Wednesday.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Tina Turner,” the post said. “With her music and her boundless passion for life, she enchanted millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow.”

The statement continued, “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. ”

Related Story: Tina Turner Details Cancer Battle and PTSD in HBO Documentary

Tina Turner is shown early in her career in an image taken from the HBO Documentary “Tina.” (Credit: HBO)

According to the Associated Press, Turner passed away Tuesday at her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland. She became a Swiss citizen a decade ago, and was married to former music executive Erwin Bach since 2013.

She was born Anna Mae Bullock on Nov. 26, 1939, in rural Tennessee to a family of sharecroppers.

When her family moved to St. Louis, Missouri, Bullock began singing in R&B establishments around the city.

In the 1950s, she met Ike Turner at a gig with his band, the Kings of Rhythm. She started singing with the band and Ike chose the name Tina Turner for her.

Ike and Tina married in 1962, and formed the Ike and Tina Turner Revue.

The couple’s relationship was turbulent. There was domestic abuse and he pursued affairs with other women. They divorced in 1978.

Turner said in her memoir, “I, Tina,” Ike would beat her viciously, with just the smallest things setting him off. He would throw hot coffee in her face, hit her, choke her and then rape her. She said he once broke her jaw.

After leaving Ike and facing financial difficulties, Turner relaunched her career in the ’80s. She topped the charts with hits including “We Don’t Need Another Hero,” a cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” and the global hit “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” which won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance.

Over the years, Turner received 12 Grammys, including eight competitive Grammy Awards.

She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, once with Ike Turner in 1991 and as a solo artist in 2021.

In a tribute Wednesday, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said on its website, “Two-time Inductee Tina Turner worked hard to reimagine the role of a Black woman in rock & roll — one that was firmly placed front and center.”

Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne portrayed Ike and Tina in the 1993 film What’s Love Got to Do with It. The movie detailed Turner’s rise to fame and how she found the courage to walk away from her abusive husband.

Turner’s story was also told in the 2021 HBO documentary Tina.

She detailed her cancer battle in the film. The “Proud Mary” artist also discussed growing up in poverty in Nutbush, Tennessee. She said she had to pick cotton to help her family get by.

Turner shared that she was abandoned by both her father and mother, and talked about how much pain that caused her. She revealed that she yearned for a relationship with her mom.

“I wanted her to come for me, and I waited. She never did. And it’s alright, you know why? I’m a girl from a cotton field that pulled myself above the destruction and the mistakes,” Turner resiliently said in Tina.

She tried to mend the relationship as an adult but she said her mother still did not accept her.

“Mom was not kind. When I became a star, of course back then she was happy because I bought her a house. I did all kinds of things for her, she was my mother,” Turner explained. “I was trying to make her comfortable because she didn’t have a husband, she was alone, but she still didn’t like me.”

Turner was mom to four children. She had two biological sons: one with saxophonist Raymond Hill, named Craig, who was born in 1958. Her child with Ike Turner, Ronald “Ronnie” Turner, was born in 1960. She also adopted two of Ike’s children, and raised them as her own.

Craig died by suicide in Studio City, Calif. in 2018. He was found in his home suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Shortly after his death, Tina released a statement on Instagram saying, “My saddest moment as a mother. 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.”

Ronnie passed away in Los Angeles in 2022 after a series of health problems.

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Trailblazing Singer From Tennessee Was 83

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