The world is mourning the loss of Tina Turner, the legendary singer who rose from a humble farming community and an abusive relationship to become one of the top recording artists ever. She died peacefully on Wednesday, aged 83, after a long illness in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland.
Turner was known for her soulful voice, raunchy stage presence, and powerful hits such as Proud Mary,What’s Love Got to Do With It, The Best, and Simply the Best. She sold over 200 million records worldwide and won eight Grammy Awards, including three as a solo artist and one for lifetime achievement. She was also inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame twice, once with her former husband Ike Turner in 1991 and once as a solo artist in 2021.
Turner’s life story was marked by triumph and tragedy. She was born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939, in Nutbush, Tennessee, where she sang in the church choir and picked cotton with her family. She met Ike Turner in St Louis as a teenager and joined his band as a singer. He gave her the name Tina Turner and trademarked it in case she left him. They married in 1962 and became a successful duo with songs like River Deep, Mountain High, and Nutbush City Limits.
However, behind the scenes, Ike was violent and controlling. Tina finally left him in 1976 with only 36 cents in her pocket. She divorced him in 1978 and relinquished all claims to their assets except for her stage name.
Tina struggled to rebuild her career as a solo artist until she released her comeback album, Private Dancer, in 1984. The album sold over 20 million copies and earned her four Grammys. She also starred in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and wrote her autobiography I, Tina, which was adapted into the Oscar-nominated film What’s Love Got to Do With It starring Angela Bassett.
Tina continued to tour and record until she retired from performing in 2009. She became a Swiss citizen in 2013 and married her longtime partner Erwin Bach in 2014. She had suffered from various health issues in recent years, including intestinal cancer, a stroke, and kidney failure. She had a kidney transplant in 2017 with Bach as the donor.
Tina’s legacy lives on through her music, memoirs, biopic, jukebox musical, and documentary film. Her incredible strength, energy, and talent inspired generations of singers and fans.
Tributes have poured in from celebrities and fans worldwide, including Mick Jagger, Elton John, Gloria Gaynor, Naomi Campbell, Beyoncé and many more.
Tina Turner will be remembered as a music icon and a role model who overcame adversity and achieved personal mastery. She once said: “I don’t need another hero. I don’t need to know the way home. All I want is life beyond Thunderdome.” She found that life beyond Thunderdome and left us all her greatest work: her music.