At 83, Tina Turner Dies A Rock 'N' Roll Legend
May 24, 2023 by apost team
At 83 years old, Tina Turner has passed away peacefully in her home in Switzerland, according to her official Instagram. With a long, impressive list of iconic hits and international successes, the singer had undeniably left her mark with her 5-decades-long career. She didn't always have it easy, however, having experienced many hardships and hurdles along the way. We're taking a look back at the remarkable life of the iconic musician in light of her passing on May 24,2023. Read on to learn more about Tina Turner's life and legacy, as well as the details around her death.
Born Anna Mae Bullock in 1939, Turner had lived a somewhat comfortable life as a child, with her parents, Floyd and Zelma Bullock, both sharecroppers, able to provide a substantial home for the family and always had food on the table. According to Turner, her mother and father were both 'church people,' well-spoken, and neat. But at home, they were struggling with a tumultuous marriage.
"My mother and father didn't love each other, so they were always fighting," Turner told the Rolling Stone in a 1986 interview. Her mother would up and leave and take Turner and her sister, Alline, along, but would eventually return when her husband came around and convinced her to make it work. However, one day, her mother left – this time leaving her girls behind – and never came back. Turner was just ten years old at the time. That experience left her feeling hurt, although, as she explains, moreso because she felt unloved rather than because her mother had left.
"I was different, because I've always been a loner," she explained. "It mattered that she'd left – but it also didn't matter. What I simply missed was that she didn't love me."
Three years later, her father left the family as well, and Turner and her sister would move in with their grandmother. As a teenager, she would attend school and work as a babysitter in the afternoon for the Henderson family, whose matriarch, Turner says, became something of a role model for her. She had even fallen in love for the first time with a boy named Harry, whom she saw one day in her high school gym and knew instantly that she wanted him. "It was love at first sight," she recounted. That fling would only be brief, however, as Harry ended up impregnating another girl in the school and marrying her, with Turner only finding out through her classmate's gossip.
Then, at age 16, Turner's life was once again turned upside down when her grandmother died. With nowhere to go, the singer and her sister moved to St. Louis to reunite with their mother. Now in the big city, the two teens would frequent the clubs and mingle with the local music scene, where Turner eventually met her first husband, Ike Turner. "...boy, could he play that music," she recalled. "The place just started rocking. I wanted to get up there and sing sooooo bad. But that took an entire year." But when that time finally came, Turner blew Ike and his band away with her voice and eventually started performing with them.Michael Turner, Ike Turner, Jr., Ike Turner, Craig Hill, Ronnie Turner (1972), (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Around that same time, she began dating another band member, saxophonist Raymond Hill, with whom she fell pregnant at 18 years old. Hill had not been around to raise Turner's son, however, so the young singer raised him with her mother and sister's help for the first two years while working at a hospital to support herself. Then at age 20, a record company became enthralled with Turner's voice after the label owner heard a tape of Turner's song, "A Fool In Love," sent in by Ike Turner, and together the two began performing as 'Ike and Tina.' In the meantime, they also started a romantic relationship, with Turner taking in and raising his two sons from a previous relationship.Tina Turner (1978) (Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
After "A Fool in Love's Success," the Ike and Tina act would become the hottest Rhythm and Blues ensemble, releasing numerous records and singles and effortlessly topping the charts. But while the couple had enjoyed great success with their music, their relationship took a dark turn at home, as Ike Turner began abusing his wife physically, and Turner became trapped.
Tina Turner (1984) Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
"It was a thoroughly unhappy situation I was in, but I was too far gone. I was trapped into really caring about Ike," Turner explained. "If I left him, what was he going to do? Go back to St. Louis? I didn't want to let him down. As horrible as he treated me, I still felt responsible for letting him down. That was a mental problem I had at the time. And I was afraid to leave."
Then in 1976, after 16 years in an abusive marriage, taking no money with her and having no plan, Turner finally found the courage to leave. Struggling at first, the singer eventually found a home for herself and was reunited with all four of her children and used food stamps, and got help from her family to keep food on the table. Their divorce was long, hard, public, and messy, but after it was all over, Turner was able to stand on her own two feet again and began a solo career.
The first couple of years after the "Ike and Turner" act dissolved proved difficult for Turner career-wise, with subsequent albums and singles enjoying lukewarm success. By the early '80s, she was already considered a 'nostalgia act,' until she released her cover for Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," which made the singer make a comeback on the International charts – even reaching no.6 in the UK. One year later, she reached no.1 on the Billboard 100 with her timeless hit, "What's Love Got To Do With It," and with it turned a new chapter in her career.Beyoncé Knowles, Tina Turner (2008), (Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)
In Turner's second memoir, "My Love Story," the legendary musician wrote of her capitalizing on her powerful voice and energetic personality, creating a strategic brand that aided her success. According to the Washington Post, nothing was random when it came to her image – from her wig to her clothes to her musical collaborations. It was all "a critical part of the Tina Turner look," she wrote.
Her rock n' roll image and tremendous talent saw Turner win accolade after accolade – including countless Grammy awards and nominations – and become a household name in a genre that had been dominated by mainly white men at the time. She paved the way for future musicians like her to succeed in the industry, most notably Beyoncé, who even paid homage to Turner at the annual Kennedy Center Honors in 2005.
Tina Turner, Adrienne Warren (2019), (John Lamparski/Getty Images)
"Every now and then, when I think of inspiration, I think of the two Tinas in my life – that's my mother, Tina, and of course, the amazing Tina Turner," Beyoncé said, according to the Guardian.
In 2009, after embarking on her Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour, Turner decided it was finally time to retire. Four years later, the retired superstar married her German-born partner of over 20 years, Erwin Bach, in an intimate ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland. Three weeks following their wedding, she suffered a stroke, which had her learn to walk again.
"In the hospital, I didn't believe that I couldn't walk," the singer recounted to Oprah in 2018. "Then I stepped out of bed and flopped to the floor and said, 'Oh my God, what have I done?' But I wasn't depressed—I was just determined to fix it."
Then, as Turner was still undergoing rigorous physiotherapy and retrained herself to walk, she encountered another tragedy. In 2016, she was diagnosed with intestinal cancer, with doctors telling her both her kidneys were failing. Distressing as the news might have been, Turner told Oprah she was content with her fate and felt she had lived a long enough life. She was not keen on going on "being on a machine" for the rest of her years, but her husband was not having any of it. "Erwin chimed in, very emotional, and said, 'I don't want another partner,'" Turner shared. "He was 150 percent ready to give me his kidney."
The retired singer also wrote extensively about her health scares in her memoir, expressing her gratitude for still being alive to see another day.
"I know that my medical adventure is far from over," Turner wrote, according to People. "But I'm still here — we're still here, closer than we ever imagined. I can look back and understand why my karma was the way it was. Good came out of bad. Joy came out of pain. And I have never been so completely happy as I am today."Tina Turner, 2019 (Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
To mark her milestone 80th birthday, Turner took to Twitter to post an upbeat update to her fans, showing that she was both happy, healthy, and "looked great."
Tina Turner, Erwin Bach (2015), (Jacopo Raule/Getty Images for Giorgio Armani/Getty Images)
"Yes, I'm 80," Turner says in the video. "How did I think I would be at 80? Not like this."
"How is this?" she chuckled. "Well, I look great, I feel good, I've gone through some very serious sicknesses that I'm overcoming. So it's like having a second chance at life. I'm happy to be an 80-year-old woman."
Up until the age of 83, the icon lived her best life in Switzerland with her husband and said she'd found her "ideal version of happiness" until her passing on May 24, 2023.
"My life over the past 10 years has been my ideal version of happiness," Turner said in an interview with the Guardian in December 2020.
"That may come as a surprise to some, since I had serious health challenges. But real joy doesn't mean having a problem-free life. True and lasting happiness comes from having an unshakeable, hopeful spirit that can shine, no matter what. That's what I've achieved, and it is my greatest wish to help others become truly happy as well."
On May 24, 2023, her official Instagram account broke the news of the star's passing. The caption read:
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. (© Peter Lindbergh)
We will surely miss the absolutely iconic star, but know her legacy will live on through her music for time to come.
Our hearts go out to Tina Turner's loved ones during this time. Which Tina Turner hit was your favorite? How will you remember her legacy? Let us know your thoughts, and be sure to pass this on to other Tina Turner fans you know.
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