Tina Turner, one of the world’s most prolific vocalists and vibrant performers, has died in her Switzerland home at age 83, as confirmed by her team on Wednesday (May 24) in a statement.
The tragic post reads, “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Tina Turner. With her music and her boundless passion for life, she enchanted millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow. 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.”
According to her publicist, Turner was battling a longtime illness and passed peacefully. No official cause of death has been revealed, but she bowed out of the limelight following the release of her retrospective documentary, TINA.
Born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939 in Tennessee, Tina Turner rose to prominence in the ’60s as lead singer of The Ike & Tina Turner Revue. Their debut single, “A Fool In Love,” broke the Top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100, and scored them their first Grammy nomination for Best Rock & Roll performance. The group dominated the chitlin circuit, but it was her genius that garnered the group crossover success after opening for The Rolling Stones and adding covers of The Beatles and The Stones into their repertoire. Their first No. 1 hit came in 1971 with their rendition of “Proud Mary,” one of Turner’s most dynamic records. The cover also won them a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Group.
It was her late husband who unknowingly changed her legal name to Tina Turner before she reclaimed it in their 1976 divorce—her sole request. Following years of physical, psychological and emotional abuse, she credited Buddhism for giving her the strength to choose herself. Turner was considered a pillar of resilience and her magnetic, meteoric comeback within rock and pop music went down in history. Her 1984 album, Private Dancer, catapulted her into solo success and she, then, became known as the Queen Of Rock ‘N’ Roll.
With best-selling records including “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” “Private Dancer,” “I Don’t Wanna Lose You,” “The Best”, and “I Don’t Wanna Fight,” Turner went on to sell over 180 million albums, win 12 Grammys, and sell out every international tour she headlined.
I, Tina, the memoir she penned in 1986, was used as the foundation for the 1993 critically-acclaimed biopic, What’s Love Got To Do With It—starring two-time Oscar nominee, Angela Bassett. Just last month as the latter was honored in this year’s TIME100 class, Turner praised Bassett’s performance then and now.
“Angela, the first time we met, you didn’t look, sound, or move like me—that came later after you worked so hard to make it happen. But even then, I could see that the young woman standing before me had strength, determination, and big, big dreams, just like me. ‘She’s perfect,’ I said, and I was right […] And you’re still perfect,” read the tribute.
Turner met her current husband, Erwin Bach—a German music executive—on the heels of her memoir’s release. They wed in 2013 after spending 27 years together. She suffered a stroke three weeks after their wedding, and later developed intestinal cancer. With the risk of kidney failure, Bach donated a kidney to his wife in 2017.
“I wondered if anyone would think that Erwin’s living donation was transactional in some way. Incredibly, considering how long we had been together, there were still people who wanted to believe that Erwin married me for my money and fame,” she wrote in her 2018 memoir, Tina Turner: My Love Story.
After TINA, she revealed she would be stepping away from the public to enjoy a peaceful life.
In October 2021, Turner was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame as a solo artist—a feat that was such a honor for her and was yet another moment of her owning the superstar she blossomed into. That same month, she also sold her name, image, likeness, and catalog to BMG. She explained, “Like any artist, the protection of my life’s work, my musical inheritance, is something personal. I am confident that with BMG and Warner Music, my work is in professional and reliable hands.”
Years later, she was yet again immortalized in the 2021 Broadway musical, Tina—The Tina Turner Musical. Her impact and influence broke generational gaps with her indirectly pouring into the likes of Beyoncé, Janelle Monáe, Mary J. Blige, Janet Jackson, and more.
Turner is survived by her husband, Erwin Bach, and adopted sons, Ike Turner Jr. and Michael Turner. Her biological sons, Craig and Ronnie, preceded her in death in 2018 and 2022, respectively. A private funeral ceremony is expected for family and close friends.
VIBE sends our deepest condolences to all those affected by this loss.