Tina Turner Dies: Trailblazing ‘Proud Mary’ Singer Was 83

U.S. singer Tina Turner poses at the red carpet ceremony before the Giorgio Armani One Night Only in Beijing fashion show at the 798 Art Zone in Beijing, China, 31 May 2012. — Photo by ChinaImages

Tina Turner, the pioneering rock’n’roll and soul music singer from Tennessee who became a global superstar, has died after a long illness. She was 83.

Turner was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and had a kidney transplant in 2017. Reps for the singer posted a statement on her official Facebook page Wednesday announcing her death.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Tina Turner,” the statement said. “With her music and her boundless passion for life, she enchanted millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow.”

It continued, “Today we say goodbye to a dear friend who leaves us all her greatest work: her music. All our heartfelt compassion goes out to her family. Tina, we will miss you dearly. ”

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Tina Turner shown performing earlier in her career in an image taken from the the HBO Documentary "Tina." (Credit: HBO)
Tina Turner is shown early in her career in an image from the HBO Documentary “Tina.” (Credit: HBO)

According to the Associated Press, Turner passed away Tuesday at her home in Küsnacht, Switzerland. She became a Swiss citizen a decade ago, and was married to former music executive Erwin Bach since 2013.

The music legend was born Anna Mae Bullock on Nov. 26, 1939, in rural Tennessee to a family of sharecroppers.

When her family moved to St. Louis, Missouri, Bullock began singing in R&B establishments around the city. In the 1950s, she met Ike Turner at a gig with his band, the Kings of Rhythm. She started singing with the band and Ike chose the name Tina Turner for her.

Ike and Tina married in 1962, and formed the Ike and Tina Turner Revue.

The couple was tremendously successful, but their relationship was turbulent. They divorced in 1978.

Turner said in her memoir, “I, Tina,” Ike would beat her viciously, with just the smallest things setting him off. He would throw hot coffee in her face, hit her, choke her and then rape her, she revealed. She said he once broke her jaw.

Years later, in an interview with 60 Minutes, Turner said she needed plastic surgery to repair the damage to her face.

“I have had my face bashed in,” she said, adding that she got surgery on her nose to address sinus problems to correct damage from the beatings.

After leaving Ike and facing financial difficulties, Turner relaunched her career in the ’80s.

Her comeback album “Private Dancer” sold 10 million copies. She topped the charts with hits including “We Don’t Need Another Hero,” a cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” and the global hit “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” which won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance.

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Over the years, Turner received 12 Grammys, including eight competitive Grammy Awards.

She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice, once with Ike Turner in 1991 and as a solo artist in 2021.

In a tribute Wednesday, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame said on its website, “Two-time Inductee Tina Turner worked hard to reimagine the role of a Black woman in rock & roll — one that was firmly placed front and center.”

“Her electric onstage presence forever raised the bar for live performance,” the organization added and praised turner for “her bravery in sharing her life story as a book, film, and Broadway musical.”

Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne portrayed Ike and Tina in the 1993 film What’s Love Got to Do with It. The movie detailed Turner’s rise to fame, the domestic abuse, and how she found the courage to finally walk away from Ike.

“Tina Turner showed others who lived in fear what a beautiful future filled with love, compassion, and freedom should look like,” Bassett wrote on Instagram Wednesday.

Turner’s story was also told in the 2021 HBO documentary Tina.

She detailed her cancer battle in the film. The “Proud Mary” artist also discussed growing up in poverty in Nutbush, Tennessee. She said she had to pick cotton to help her family get by.

Turner shared that she was abandoned by both her father and mother, and talked about how much pain that caused her. She revealed that she yearned for a relationship with her mom.

“I wanted her to come for me, and I waited. She never did. And it’s alright, you know why? I’m a girl from a cotton field that pulled myself above the destruction and the mistakes,” Turner resiliently said in Tina.

She tried to mend the relationship as an adult but she said her mother still did not accept her.

“Mom was not kind. When I became a star, of course back then she was happy because I bought her a house. I did all kinds of things for her, she was my mother,” Turner explained. “I was trying to make her comfortable because she didn’t have a husband, she was alone, but she still didn’t like me.”

Turner was mom to four children. She had two biological sons: one with saxophonist Raymond Hill, named Craig, who was born in 1958. Her child with Ike Turner, Ronald “Ronnie” Turner, was born in 1960. She also adopted two of Ike’s children, and raised them as her own.

Craig died by suicide in Studio City, Calif. in 2018. He was found in his home suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Shortly after his death, Tina released a statement on Instagram saying, “My saddest moment as a mother. On Thursday, July 19 2018, I said my final goodbye to my son, Craig Raymond Turner, when I gathered with family and friends to scatter his ashes off the coast of California. He was fifty-nine when he died so tragically, but he will always be my baby.”

Ronnie passed away in Los Angeles in 2022 after a series of health problems.