LONDON — Singer Tina Turner, whose soul classics and pop hits like The Best and What’s Love Got to Do With It made her a superstar, has died at the age of 83.
Turner had suffered a number of health issues in recent years including cancer, a stroke and kidney failure.
She rose to fame alongside husband Ike in the 1960s with songs including Proud Mary and River Deep, Mountain High.
She divorced the abusive Ike in 1978, and went on to find even greater success as a solo artist in the 1980s.
Dubbed the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Tina Turner was famed for her raunchy and energetic stage performances and husky, powerful vocals.
Her death was announced on her official Instagram page.
“With her music and her boundless passion for life, she enchanted millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow,” the post said.
“Today we say goodbye to a dear friend who leaves us all her greatest work: her music.”
Turner won eight Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2021 as a solo artist, having first been inducted alongside Ike Turner in 1991.
Upon her solo induction, the Hall of Fame noted how she had “expanded the once-limited idea of how a Black woman could conquer a stage and be both a powerhouse and a multidimensional being”.
Younger stars who have felt her influence include Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, Janelle Monae and Rihanna.
Supermodel Naomi Campbell led tributes. “Rest in peace and power, the queen, legend, icon,” she said. “There will never be another. Cherish my times with you.
Turner’s manager of 30 years, Roger Davies, said in a statement that “Tina was a unique and remarkable force of nature with her strength, incredible energy and immense talent”.
“From the first day I met her in 1980, she believed in herself completely when few others did at that time… I will miss her deeply,” he added.
Born in Tennessee into a sharecropping family, she first found prominence as one of the backing singers for her husband’s band The Kings of Rhythm.
She soon went to front the band, and the couple tasted commercial success with Fool in Love and It’s Gonna Work Out Fine, which made the US charts in the early 60s.
Their other hits included 1973’s Nutbush City Limits, about the small town where Tina was born. But Ike’s physical and emotional abuse was taking its toll.
It was he who changed her name from her birth name, Anna Mae Bullock, to Tina Turner—a decision he took without her knowledge, one example of his controlling behavior.
She recalled the trauma she suffered throughout their relationship in her 2018 memoir, My Love Story, in which she compared sex with the late musician to “a kind of rape”.
“He used my nose as a punching bag so many times that I could taste blood running down my throat when I sang,” she wrote.
After escaping her abuser, she went on to rebuild her career and become one of the biggest pop and rock stars of the 80s and 90s, with hits including Let’s Stay Together, Steamy Windows, Private Dancer, James Bond theme GoldenEye, I Don’t Wanna Fight and It Takes Two, a duet with Rod Stewart.
She also starred in the 1985 film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome — which featured another of her smashes, We Don’t Need Another Hero — and The Who’s 1975 rock opera Tommy as the Acid Queen.
She found happiness with her second husband, German music executive Erwin Bac. They started dating in the mid-80s, and got married in 2013.
The pair lived in Switzerland, with Turner taking Swiss citizenship. He donated one of his kidneys to her in 2017 after it was discovered she was suffering from kidney failure.
She also suffered tragedy with the loss of her eldest son Craig to suicide in 2018. His father was Turner’s former bandmate, Raymond Hill.
Another son, Ronnie, whose father was Ike Turner, died in 2022. She also had two adopted sons, Ike Jr and Michael, Ike’s children from a previous relationship.
Tina’s life story spawned a 1993 biopic titled What’s Love Got To Do With It, which earned Angela Bassett an Oscar nomination for playing the star; and a hit stage musical—aptly titled Tina: The Musical. She was also the subject of the HBO documentary Tina in 2021.
In an interview with Marie Claire South Africa in 2018, Turner said: “People think my life has been tough, but I think it’s been a wonderful journey. The older you get, the more you realize it’s not what happened, it’s how you deal with it.” BBC