Tina Turner, the pioneering rock’n’roll star who became a pop behemoth in the 1980s, has died aged 83 after a long illness.
Born Anna Mae Bullock on 26 November 1939, the legendary singer had left a poor farming community and abusive relationship to become one of the top recording artists of all time.
She died peacefully after a long illness in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland, her publicist, Bernard Doherty, said in a statement on Wednesday night.
She had suffered ill health in recent years, being diagnosed with intestinal cancer in 2016 and having a kidney transplant in 2017.
Turner affirmed and amplified Black women’s formative stake in rock’n’roll, defining that era of music to the extent that Mick Jagger admitted to taking inspiration from her high-kicking, energetic live performances for his stage persona.
After two decades of working with her abusive husband, Ike Turner, she struck out alone and – after a few false starts – became one of the defining pop icons of the 1980s with the album Private Dancer.
Tina Turner’s life was chronicled in three memoirs, a biopic, a jukebox musical, and in 2021, the acclaimed documentary film, Tina.
Publicist Bernard Doherty announced: “Tina Turner, the ‘Queen of Rock’n Roll’ has died peacefully today at the age of 83 after a long illness in her home in Kusnacht near Zurich, Switzerland. With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model.”
Turner was born and raised in Nutbush, Tennessee, where she recalled picking cotton with her family as a child.
She sang in the tiny town’s church choir, and as a teenager talked – or rather, sang – her way into Ike’s band in St Louis. He had declined her request to join until he heard her seize the microphone during a Kings of Rhythm performance for a rendition of BB King’s You Know I Love You.
In 2020, a remix of her 1984 hit What’s Love Got to Do With It? by the Norwegian producer Kygo made Turner the first artist to have a UK Top 40 hit in seven consecutive decades.
In 2021, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist, 30 years after Ike and Tina Turner’s induction.
Turner is survived by her second husband, German music executive Erwin Bach. They married in July 2013 after 27 years together and lived in Switzerland. In 2013, Turner renounced her US citizenship to become a Swiss citizen.
Her first child, Craig Raymond Turner, died in July 2018. Last year, Turner said that following her other son Ronnie’s death at the age of 62 that he “left the world far too early”. She is survived by two of Ike Turner’s sons, Ike Turner Jr and Michael Turner, whom she adopted.
In 2020, Turner told the Guardian that despite having some serious health problems, the last 10 years of her life had embodied her ideal vision of happiness.
“True and lasting happiness comes from having an unshakeable, hopeful spirit that can shine, no matter what,” she said. “That’s what I’ve achieved, and it is my greatest wish to help others become truly happy as well.”