Legendary Tina Turner dies at 83

Tina Turner, Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll died after a long illness in her home near Zurich Switzerland

Ade Ishola

 

Superstar Tina Turner has died in her home near Zurich in Switzerland, where she had been living since 1994 with her husband, German actor and music producer Erwin Bach.

Bernard Doherty, her publicist, who confirmed her death in a statement, said she died after a long illness. In the last few years, Turner had been battling several health challenges, including surviving a stroke, intestinal cancer and total kidney failure that required an organ transplant.

“Queen of Rock’n Roll” has died peacefully today at the age of 83 after a long illness in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland. With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model.

“There will be a private funeral ceremony attended by close friends and family. Please respect the privacy of her family at this difficult time,” the statement by Doherty said.

Born Anna Mae Bullock on Nov. 26, 1939, in Tennessee, USA, Tina Turner endured a life of tragedy including an unhappy childhood (her mother walked out at age 10 and abandoned by her father at 13), an abusive marriage and death of her sons to achieved one of the longest successful careers in the music industry.

In a career spanning almost six decades, Turner achieved many Billboard Top 40 hits, which earned her many Grammys, a Kennedy Center Honor, and entry into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. She was noted for her great voice, glittery stage wear and electrifying stage acts. She has also been honoured with a 1993 film, “What’s Love Got to Do with It” starring Angela Bassett and a March 2021 HBO documentary on her life titled “Tina.”

Life with Ike: in her earlier years, in the 60s, she was involved in an acrimonious marriage with her musical partner, Ike Turner, who subjected her to severe physical and psychological abuse.  During this period, the duo was regarded as one of the top musical acts of the era, churning out hits like “Proud Mary,” “Come Together,” and “I Want to Take You Higher.”

Tina met Ike in the late 1950s, when she was 17, while Ike, 25 was performing with his band, Kings of Rhythm. She would later become a member of Ike’s band, and after a relationship with the sax player, Raymond Hill, with whom she had a son in 1958 she started a romantic affair with Ike.

With her good voice, Ike saw her as a talent that could make him lots of money.

“My relationship with Ike was doomed the day he figured out I was going to be his money-maker.

“He needed to control me, economically and psychologically, so I could never leave him.” Tina wrote in her autobiography.

Ike gave her the famous moniker, “Tina”, which was inspired by a character in a favourite television show and insisted add his surname. He later trademarked the name “Tina Turner.” In case Tina leaves him. The couple made their union official in 1962, after the birth of their son in 1960.

But the marriage did nothing to change Ike.

“Our life together was a mockery of a ‘normal’ relationship: defined by abuse and fear, not love, or even affection,” she wrote.

As the couple made it in the music industry Ike became more controlling and abusive just as he got more hooked on drugs and had many extra-marital affairs.

The situation made Tina suicidal and one day she took 50 sleeping tablets to end her life.

‘At my lowest, I convinced myself that death was my only way out. I actually tried to kill myself,’ she wrote. ‘But I came out of the darkness believing I was meant to survive.’

She dreaded leaving Ike.

“There was violence because he had this fear that I was going to leave him,” Turner said in 2018.

By 1976, Tina had had enough and with a Mobil card and 36 cents in her pocket, she walked out on Ike, while they were on tour in Dallas, Texas.

“I just took a chance.

“I walked out without anything and had to make it on my own for my family and everyone so I just went back to work for myself.

“It was very difficult and dangerous because Ike was a violent person and at that point, he was on drugs and very insecure. I had no money. I had no place to go,” she said.

And that started a bitter divorce legal fight. She sought custody of her children and her performing name, which Ike had legal ownership of. Together, Tina and Ike had a son and she also adopted Ike’s two sons from his previous marriage, Ike Jr. and Michael. In addition, Tina had another child, from a past relationship. The judge presiding over the divorce agreed with Tina.

“I walked out of that courtroom with the name Tina Turner and my two Jaguars, one from Sammy Davis, Jr. and one from Ike, and that’s it. It seems so funny now — no money for food or rent, but two Jaguars! Considering my age, 39, my gender, my colour, and the times we lived in, everything was strong winds against me,” she said.

Solo Career: The ’80s saw her coming back stronger as she made many hits like “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” “Private Dancer,” and “We Don’t Need Another Hero.” Also, the new music station, MTV made her a global star with her music videos. Her 1984 single, “Private Dancer” earned four Grammy Awards and eventually sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.

In 2009, she retired from stage performance after her Tina! 50th Anniversary Tour, living a private life, and growing her relationship Bach. She found love when she met the German music executive in 1986. The pair married in July 2013 after many years together.

Tragedies:

In 2018 she lost her son, Craig, to suicide. Also, Ronnie, her son with Ike, born in October 1960, died of complications of colon cancer in December 2022.

Following her retirement, she struggled with numerous health problems. a stroke that forced her to re-learn how to walk in 2013 and a battle with cancer in 2016. The disease led to kidney failure, and her husband, Erwin, had to donate his kidney to the singer to save her life. The transplant was a success.

Simply the Best:

Despite her tumultuous personal life, she had a great career, which has been chronicled in three memoirs, a biopic, a musical, and a documentary film.

“I have been blessed with a wonderful career.

“And after more than 50 years of performing, I don’t need a musical, I don’t need another show. But I get so many cards and letters — I still can’t believe how people feel about me on stage and the legacy they say I left. People tell me I gave them hope. It meant so much to people I feel I have to pass it on, and I hope this show serves what the people need, as a reminder of my work,” she on the program of the show put together in 2018 to celebrate her.

“I am not an alcoholic. I’ve never smoked, I have never done drugs. I have floated through the disaster of my past clean. I arrived here undamaged,” she described herself.

 

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