Tina Turner, the legendary singer who overcame an abusive relationship with her husband to achieve international acclaim and pop stardom as shown in a classic biopic film named after her signature hit, “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” has died at 83.
Sky News first reported Turner’s death.
Turner, known as much for her music as she was for sporting her signature honey blond mussed-up hairstyle, died on Tuesday at her home in Switzerland following a lengthy illness, according to Sky News.
A spokesperson confirmed her death, Sky News reported:
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.
This is a developing story that will be updated with additional information as it becomes available.
Turner, who was born Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush, Tennessee, was an entertainer for nearly 60 years. The Grammy-winning rock artist rose to mainstream prominence in the ’60s as part of the duo Ike & Tina Turner. Ike and Tina married in 1962 and performed together. The duo’s turbulent and abusive relationship was documented in the memorable 1993 semi-autobiographical film, What’s Love Got to Do With It.
After the couple divorced in 1978, Turner reinvented herself and went on to reach career highs like never before. Dubbed the “Queen of Rock and Roll,” Turner has won eight Grammys and has sold more concert tickets than any other solo performer in history.
The road to success for Turner was not a smooth one.
After going solo, for Turner, the gratification was far from immediate. The circumstances prompted Turner to resort to performing in South Africa at a time when it was unpopular to visit the country because of its apartheid system that segregated citizens by race and spawned unthinkable discrimination.
As the Associated Press recalled, “Rock stars helped” revive Turner’s career:
Rod Stewart convinced her to sing “Hot Legs” with him on “Saturday Night Live” and Jagger, who had openly borrowed some of Turner’s on-stage moves, sang “Honky Tonk Women” with her during the Stones’ 1981-82 tour. At a listening party for his 1983 album “Let’s Dance,” David Bowie told guests that Turner was his favorite female singer.
More popular in England at the time than in the U.S., she recorded a raspy version of “Let’s Stay Together” at EMI’s Abbey Road studios in London. By the end of 1983, “Let’s Stay Together” was a hit throughout Europe and on the verge of breaking in the states. An A&R man at Capitol Records, John Carter, urged the label to sign her up and make an album. Among the material presented to her was a reflective pop-reggae ballad co-written by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle and initially dismissed by Tina as “wimpy.”
“I just thought it was some old pop song, and I didn’t like it,” she later said of “What’s Love Got To Do With It.”
The rest, as they say, is history as the album of the same name remains one of the most iconic opuses from both the 1980s as well as all-time. It went on to sell more than 8 million copies and spawned multiple top 10 hits, immortalizing Turner as a timeless music-maker.
Turner was indicted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a solo performer in 2021 as well as 20 years earlier for her group work with Ike Turner.
After making a life for herself in Switzerland for the past few decades, she applied for Swiss citizenship. It was granted in 2013, thereby renouncing her American one.
In a 2019 interview she did with the New York Times, Turner described how although she endured a hectic life, she was still just as carefree as ever. At the time, there was a musical about her life headed to Broadway and she said she had been enjoying the fruits of her labor with 10 years of retirement.
“I don’t necessarily want to be a ‘strong’ person,” she told the Times. “I had a terrible life. I just kept going. You just keep going, and you hope that something will come.” Gesturing to her extravagant home in Switzerland, she added, “This came.”
Turner spoke about her notoriously abusive relationship with the late Ike Turner, shedding insight into how forgiveness manifests for different people.
“I don’t know if I could ever forgive all that Ike ever did to me,” Turner said. Then she added, pointedly, “Ike’s dead. So we don’t have to worry about him.”
Along with her tips on resilience, Turner also had advice about just relaxing and doing nothing. Although she had great moments during her 50 years of performing, Turner said she was enjoying retirement and had no plans to return as a music artist.
“I don’t sing. I don’t dance. I don’t dress up,” she said.
After a life of pleasing other people, Turner said she had no qualms about living a little selfishly in her then-soon-to-be 80s. “I was just tired of singing and making everybody happy,” she said. “That’s all I’d ever done in my life.”
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