Tina Turner’s Husband Stepped Up & Donated His Kidney To Save Her When Her Health Was Failing

May 25, 2023 by apost team

Tina Turner was one of our time's most recognized and celebrated music artists, and we are sure that her five-decades-long, highly successful career will be remembered for years to come as well. Though she had a prodigious musical career, she also had to battle a lot of hardships and difficulties in her life, and the path to happiness had not been easy. 

However, she found a peaceful pairing with her husband, Erwin Bach, with whom she lived in Switzerland. The pair had been together for over two decades before they tied the knot in 2013 when Tina was 73 and Bach was 57. Their age difference did nothing to deter them from having a blissful relationship. Together, they faced the joys and grief of life hand in hand and seemed very much in love through all stages of their relationship. 

While Tina was a celebrity in her own right, Bach is also a highly successful man. The two of them first met in 1985 at the airport, which Tina described as a "simple meeting," according to Closer Weekly.

They did not begin dating right away and were in a platonic relationship for more than a year. Tina was especially hesitant to give love another chance after everything she had been through, but she said that she was glad she "listened to her heart" and gave Bach a chance. They got together in 1986 and stayed together until Tina’s death on May 24, 2023. It goes to show that you are never too old to find the right person to spend your life with! 

Tina Turner (1985), (Aaron Rapoport/Corbis via Getty Images)

When they first met, Tina certainly paid attention to Bach despite having been on a plane for hours. As per Closer Weekly, she wrote in her new book that she "instantly felt an emotional connection” when he greeted her at an airport in Germany. She also added, "I should have been too tired from my flight, too preoccupied with thoughts of my concert tour and in too much of a hurry to get to my hotel to pay much attention to the young music executive who came from my record company to welcome me. But I did notice him."

Bach is a German music producer and executive who has made a successful dent in the music industry throughout his career and is reportedly worth $50 million today. Moreover, he has also had a few small acting roles in his career. 

Even though she felt the connection to Bach, she was hesitant to chase after love after her difficult romantic experience with her previous husband, Ike Turner, with whom she had shared an extremely successful career in the 60s and 70s.

The Ike and Tina act was the hottest R&B ensemble at the time, but while the couple had enjoyed great success with their music, their relationship took a dark turn at home, as Ike abused his wife physically. Tina became trapped. 

"It was a thoroughly unhappy situation I was in, but I was too far gone. I was trapped into really caring about Ike," Tina 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."


Tina Turner, Michael Turner, Ike Turner, Jr. Ike Turner, Craig Hill, Ronnie Turner (1972), (Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images)

Then in 1976, after 16 years in an abusive marriage, taking no money with her and having no plan, Tina 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. She 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, Tina was able to stand on her own two feet again and began a solo career. This was not an easy task, however, as her subsequent musical releases were met with a lukewarm reception until the early 80s. 

When she released her cover for  Al Green's “Let's Stay Together,” which made the singer make a comeback on the International charts and even reached No. 6 in the UK, she began to find the success that she deserved for her voice. 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. 

After having gone through so much hardship following her painful and messy divorce, Tina was finally finding her voice and stardom. It would be natural to want to stay away from a romantic relationship after such a traumatic experience, but taking a chance with Bach ended up being the best thing for her. “Falling in love with my husband, Erwin, was another exercise in leaving my comfort zone, of being open to the unexpected gifts that life has to offer,” she shared.

“That simple first meeting led to a long, beautiful relationship — and my one true marriage.”

Tina Turner (2005), (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

Tina and Bach did not welcome any children together, but Tina had four children of her own: Ronnie Turner, Ike Turner Jr., Michael Turner, and late son Craig Turner. She shared Craig with her former boyfriend Raymond Hill and shared Ronnie Turner with Ike. She also adopted Ike's children from his previous marriage, Ike Jr. and Michael. 

Speaking about marriage on Oprah Winfrey’s show in 2006, Tina said on television she had no plans of marrying at the time. "People often ask me why don’t I marry," she said, according to The Daily Mail. "I have love. I have a good life. I don’t need to interfere with that. For some people, marriage means “You’re mine now.” That can be the beginning of the failure of a relationship." 

She also added, "Neither Erwin nor I feel the need to get married. We’ve been together for 18 years. What would marriage give me that I don’t already have? Marriage would be about pleasing the public. Why do I need to please the public if I’m already pleased?" 

While this is certainly an understandable sentiment, it was clear that both Bach and Tina were finally ready to tie the knot in 2013 in a beautiful ceremony by Lake Zurich. After this, they also had a Buddhist ceremony at their home in Zurich. The event was attended by celebrities like David Bowie, Oprah Winfrey, and Sade, among others. Daily Mail reported that as per the Swiss weekly newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag, Tina asked all her guests to wear white to the ceremony and that Tina wore a beautiful gown designed by the famed Giorgio Armani

Tina Turner (2019), (Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic via Getty Images)

The pair also reportedly sent out notices to their neighbors apologizing in advance for any noise they may cause. What a considerate thing to do! Despite all the joy and jubilation that surrounded the wedding, Tina faced many difficulties soon after. 

Three weeks following their wedding, she suffered a stroke, which forced her to learn to walk again. 

"In the hospital, I didn't believe that I couldn't walk," the singer recounted to Winfrey 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 Tina was still undergoing rigorous physiotherapy and retraining herself to walk, came 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, Tina told Winfrey she was at peace 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,'" Tina shared. "He was 150 percent ready to give me his kidney." This was such a beautiful sentiment and showed the true power of the love shared between Tina and Bach. Tina underwent a successful transplant in 2017 and went on to live a very happy life with her husband in Zurich. 

Tina Turner, Erwin Bach (1989), (Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive via Getty Images)

"I’m happy to say that, thanks to my beloved husband, Erwin, giving me one of his kidneys, the gift of life, I’m in good health and loving life every day,” she wrote in her memoir as per Closer Weekly. “I’m also thankful that I’ve not only survived, but thrived, so that I can pass on to you this book containing precious gifts that were given to me — the greatest gifts I can offer."

She remained grateful for her life, which had been beautiful despite being punctuated with bouts of tragedy and difficulty. 

"My life over the past 10 years has been my ideal version of happiness," Tina 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."

Tina helped others achieve that goal with her book “Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good,” which came out on Oct. 27, 2020. In the book, the icon spoke to her belief in Buddhism, her spirituality, and the many obstacles she had overcome. 

Tina and Back continued to live a blissful life together, although Tina was still struck with sickness in her final days. The icon passed on May 24, 2023, in her home in Switzerland at the age of 83. She had suffered from a long illness, including cancer, strokes and kidney failure during her final years.

Erwin Bach, Tina Turner (2018), (David M. Benett/Dave Benett via Getty Images)

Prior to Tina’s death, she and Bach had shared a beautiful home together in Switzerland. According to Oprah Daily, the estate was called “Chateau Algonquin,” and it provided a “cartoon palace energy.” A further description of the home shared how it “overlooks Lake Zurich, has ivy snaking up the walls, gardeners manicuring the shrubs, a life-size two-legged horse sculpture suspended from a domed ceiling, a framed rendering of Turner as an Egyptian queen, (and) a room stuffed with gilded Louis XIV style sofas.”

It seemed like it was hard for Tina to accept true love and happiness, given her difficult past. In fact, after Bach proposed to her, she gave a very ambiguous response, not believing that he really wanted to spend forever with her. Tina had said:

"I said, 'I don't have an answer.' It wasn't yes, it wasn't no. Marriage says ownership. I didn't want that 'my' anything, anymore. I had enough of that."

Thankfully, the pair went on to fully commit to each other and loved each other until Tina’s passing. After Tina was diagnosed with kidney cancer, Bach stepped up, which Tina wrote about in “My Love Story.” The singer had explained:

"He said he didn't want another woman, or another life. Then he shocked me. He said he wanted to give me one of his kidneys."

Tina was “overwhelmed by the enormity of his offer.” 

Bach and Tina continued to have a strong relationship and were a beacon of hope to anyone who wanted to find love but thought it was too late. This couple proved that age was but a number in a committed and loving relationship. Most of all, there’s no denying that Tina’s legacy will continue to live on.

Tina Turner, Erwin Bach (2018), (Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/French Select via Getty Images)

What do you think of Tina Turner and Erwin Bach’s beautiful love story? How will you remember this musical icon? Let us know, and be sure to pass this along to your loved ones.

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