Tina Turner, the American-born “queen of rock ‘n’ roll”, died Tuesday at the age of 83.
On Wednesday, a representative for Turner said she died peacefully at her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland, after a long illness. She became a Swiss citizen ten years ago.
Turner was best known for her dynamic stage presence, powerful pipes and long, muscular legs, producing a series of hit records and live shows in the 1960s and 1970s with her then-husband, Ike Turner.
Ike Turner discovered her at age 17 when she grabbed the microphone to sing at her club show in St. Louis in 1957. He was responsible for her stage name (she was born Anna Mae Bullock in 1939) and the two were married in Tijuana, Mexico. .
However, her 20-year marriage was also a major source of burden and heartache, which left her physically battered, financially ruined and emotionally scarred.
As she recounts in her memoirs, Me, Tina, Ike started hitting her in the mid-1950s, shortly after they met, and the violence quickly escalated. She said he was quickly provoked by anything and anyone and would go after her by choking her, throwing hot coffee in her face or beating her until she couldn’t open her swollen eyes again, before raping her. Before a show, he broke her jaw and she took to the stage with her mouth full of blood.
Turner left her husband one night in 1976 during a layover in Dallas — with just a credit card and pennies in his pocket — after he punched her on a car ride and she fought back, according to her memoir. Their divorce was finalized in 1978.
However, in the aftermath of the divorce, she channeled her emotional turmoil and grief into her career, which propelled her to fame in her 40s – a time when the careers of many other artists are starting to slow down.
In 1980, she met new manager Roger Davies, an Australian music manager who would manage her for three decades. This led to a No. 1 solo, What’s love got to do with it, then in 1984 his album private dancer propelled her to the top of the charts.
private dancer became Turner’s biggest album, the cornerstone of a career that saw her sell over 200 million records in total.
Turner was one of the world’s most successful artists, known for a core of pop, rock, and rhythm and blues favourites: mary proud, Nutbush City Limits, deep river, High mountainand the successes she had in the 80s, among which We don’t need another hero and a cover of Al Green’s let’s stick together.
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She’s sold over 150 million records worldwide, won 12 Grammys, and was inducted with Ike into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 (and alone in 2021.)
Turner was among the first celebrities to speak out about domestic violence, becoming a hero for abused women and a symbol of resilience for all. Ike Turner didn’t deny abusing her, although he tried to blame Tina for their troubles. When he died in 2007, a rep for his ex-wife said simply, “Tina is aware that Ike is deceased.”
She was honored at the Kennedy Center in 2005, with Beyoncé and Oprah Winfrey among those who praised her. Her life became the basis for a movie, a Broadway musical and an HBO documentary in 2021 that she called her public farewell.
In a memoir published in 2018, Tina Turner: My Love Storyshe revealed that she received a kidney transplant from her second husband, former EMI record executive Erwin Bach.
While her first marriage was an extremely toxic and tainted affair, her relationship with Bach, who was ten years younger than her, was a love affair she had always hoped for and the two were married in a civil ceremony in Switzerland in 2013.
“It’s that happiness that people talk about,” Turner told the press of her marriage to Back at the time, “when you don’t wish for anything, when you can finally take a deep breath and say, ‘It’s alright. “.”
In 2018, while battling health issues, she faced a family tragedy, when her eldest son, Craig, died by suicide aged 59 in Los Angeles. Her youngest son Ronnie died in December 2022.
She is survived by Bach and two sons of Ike whom she adopted.
— with files from The Associated Press and Reuters
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