Tina Turner, the dynamic rock and soul singer who rose from humble beginnings and overcame a notoriously abusive marriage to become one of the most popular female artists of all time, has died, her family announced in a statement. She was 83.
Turner died Wednesday at her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland.
“With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model,” her family said.
“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,” a statement on her verified Facebook page read.
A riveting live performer, Turner had a string of R&B hits in the 1960s and early ’70s with her domineering and violent husband Ike Turner before she left him – fleeing their Dallas hotel room with 36 cents.
Her solo career floundered for years before she mounted a stunning comeback in 1984 with her multiplatinum album “Private Dancer” and its No. 1 hit, “What’s Love Got to Do With It.”
Before long Turner was a global superstar, commanding MTV with her spiky wigs, short skirts and famously long legs strutting across concert stages in three-inch heels.
Her talent earned her acclaim as the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” while her resiliency made her a hero to battered women everywhere. When she sang of pain and heartache in her husky, full-throated voice, every word rang true.
Hear why Tina Turner said she left the US
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“For a long time I felt like I was stuck, with no way out of the unhealthy situation I was in,” she told Harvard Business Review in 2021. “But then I had a series of encounters with different people who encouraged me … And once I could see myself clearly, I began to change, opening the way to confidence and courage. It took a few years, but finally I was able to stand up for my life and start anew.”
‘He knew I had potential to be a star’
Turner poses for a portrait in 1964.
She was born Anna Mae Bullock in 1939 to poor sharecroppers near Nutbush, Tennessee, a rural community north of Memphis that she later made famous in her autobiographical song, “Nutbush City Limits.” She spent her early years living with her grandmother after her parents split.
“We weren’t in poverty. We had food on the table. We just didn’t have fancy things, like bicycles,” Turner said in a 2005 interview with Oprah Winfrey.
“We were church people, so on Easter, we got all done up. I was very innocent and didn’t know much else. I knew the radio—B.B. King, country and western,” Turner said. “That’s about it. I didn’t know anything about being a star until the white people allowed us to come down and watch their television once a week.”
Following the death of their grandmother in the 1950s, Turner and her sister Ruby moved to St. Louis, Missouri, to live with their mother.
It was in St. Louis that she began to visit some of the local clubs and met musician Ike Turner, whose band, Kings of Rhythm, were popular in the area. He recruited her at age 17 to join his band as a singer.
Tina and Ike Turner perform in 1975.
“Ike had to come to the house and ask Ma if it was OK for me to sing with him. He knew I had the potential to be a star. We were close, like brother and sister,” Turner told Winfrey. “On his off nights, we’d drive around town, and he would tell me about his life, his dreams. He told me that when he was young, people found him unattractive. That really hurt him. I felt bad for him. I thought, ‘I’ll never hurt you, Ike.’ I meant it. He was so nice to me then, but I did see the other side of him.”
She began performing as Tina Turner and, in 1960, they formed the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. Their relationship evolved and their son Ronnie was born that same year. They married in 1962 and raised four children, including two children from Ike’s previous relationships and Tina’s son, Craig, also from a previous relationship.
A brutal union
As Turner has stated in her autobiography and in interviews, the physical abuse began almost from the start.
Thin-skinned and mercurial, Ike Turner would fly into fits of rage at the slightest provocation, she said, adding that he would hit her with whatever was available – coat hangers, telephones, a wooden shoe stretcher, his fists.
Often, she said, he’d even beat her before they went onstage.
“He’d hit me in the ribs, and then always try to give me a black eye. He wanted his abuse to be seen. That was the shameful part,” Turner told Winfrey.
Tina sang lead on most of their songs with the help of female backup singers, while her husband remained in the background, usually on guitar. Their musical partnership yielded a string of R&B hits, including “A Fool In Love,” “Nutbush City Limits” and “Proud Mary,” their 1971 cover of a Creedence Clearwater Revival song, which reached No. 4 on the pop charts and won them a Grammy.
But offstage their marriage remained tumultuous, fueled in part by Ike Turner’s cocaine addiction.
Ike and Tina Turner in the 1960s.
“Another night we had a fight in the dressing room, and when I went onstage, my face was swollen,” she told Winfrey. “I think my nose was broken because blood was gushing into my mouth when I sang. Before, I’d been able to hide under makeup. But you can’t hide swelling.”
She stuck with Ike Turner for more than a decade, terrified of his temper and determined not to abandon him like others had.
But things came to a head in July 1976 when they flew to Dallas for a show. Turner wrote in her book that after a flight on the airplane, her husband began hitting her in a car on the way to their hotel. While he slept, she slipped out of their room, carrying only a Mobil credit card and 36 cents – “a quarter, a dime and a penny.”
She fled across a busy highway to a motel, where a sympathetic clerk saw her bloodied face and gave her a room. She then called a lawyer she knew, who arranged for a friend to pick her up and put her on an airplane back to Los Angeles.
“After my plane landed in California, my heart was in my ears. I was afraid Ike would be there because when I’d left once before, he tracked me down on a bus…” she told Oprah. “So when I got off that plane, I ran like mad. I said to myself, ‘If he’s here, I’m going to scream for the police. And I had one chant in my head: ‘I will die before I go back.’”
Her rise to international fame
Turner performs in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in 1990.
By then a friend had introduced Turner to Buddhism and its practice of chanting, which she credited with giving her the strength to leave her husband. Raised Baptist, Turner embraced Buddhism whole-heartedly in middle age and said its teachings changed her life.
“I came to understand that any achievement stems from inner change,” she told Harvard Business Review. “The more I studied Buddhist principles, the deeper I dug within myself and cleaned up whatever attitudes or habits were standing in my way.”
She and Ike were formally divorced in 1978 after a long legal battle. She wrote in her book that he retained most of the earnings and assets they had earned as a couple, while she cared for their four sons. The divorce almost ruined her financially, and for the next few years Turner performed on TV specials and in Las Vegas as she struggled to rebuild her career.
Her comeback gained momentum after she hired Australian manager Roger Davies in 1979. Rod Stewart invited her to perform “Hot Legs” with him on “Saturday Night Live” two years later, and in 1983, her cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” became a hit in England.
Then came “Private Dancer,” which spawned three Top 10 hits, won her three Grammys and eventually sold more than 10 million copies. Although she didn’t like the song at first and had to be talked into recording it, “What’s Love Got to Do With It” made her, at 44, the oldest female artist to score a No. 1 hit.
Turner holds an award at the 1985 Grammys.
In 1985, at the peak of her powers, she sang on the all-star charity single “We Are the World,” performed with Mick Jagger at the historic Live Aid concerts and co-starred in Mel Gibson’s post-apocalyptic film “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” scoring another hit with “We Don’t Need Another Hero,” a song from the movie.
The next year Turner chronicled her early career and abusive marriage in a best-selling memoir, “I, Tina,” which was adapted into a hit 1993 film, “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” starring Angela Bassett.
The hit albums, singles and sold-out concerts continued throughout the late ’80s and ‘90s, and Turner remained a popular live act well into the new millennium – especially in England.
Turner moved to Switzerland in the 1990s with German boyfriend Erwin Bach, an executive for her record company. He was 16 years younger. The pair married in 2013 after a 27-year romantic relationship and in 2022 bought a $76 million estate on Lake Zurich.
“I pay taxes here (in the US). My family is here,” she told CNN’s Larry King in 1997. “I left America because my (biggest) success was in another country and my boyfriend was in another country. Europe has been very supportive of my music.”
Turner and Erwin Bach attend the opening night of the "Tina" musical in London, in 2018.
Ike and Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 and she was inducted as a solo artist in 2021. “Tina,” a musical based on her life story, opened on Broadway in 2018.
Turner is preceded in death by her two sons, Craig, who died in 2018, and Ronnie, in 2022.
“Some of the happiest moments in my life were the birth of my beautiful baby boys, Craig and Ronnie, and marrying my partner and soul mate, Erwin Bach,” she told NBC’s Today Show in 2021.
Professionally, she said, her happiest moments were performing live.
“One of my early career goals was to become the first Black woman to fill stadiums around the world,” she told NBC. “At the time, it seemed impossible. But I never gave up, and I’m so happy I made that dream come true.
She was 83. Turner died Wednesday at her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland. “With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model,” her family said. “With her music and her boundless passion for life, she enchanted millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow.Who will inherit Tina Turner's money? ›
However, she is survived by her second husband, German music executive Erwin Bach, who is expected to receive roughly half of her $250 million fortune. The two were married 10 years ago after a long-term relationship that began in the 1980s.How much money was Ike Turner worth when he died? ›
Ike is probably best-known for his work with his then-wife Tina Turner. At the time of his death his fortune was estimated at 500 thousand dollars, according to the website celebritynetworth.com. Ike Turner died of an accidental cocaine overdose, the San Diego medical examiner said.What happened to Tina Turner the singer? ›
undefined. Tina Turner - one of rock's great vocalists and most charismatic performers - has died aged 83. Her spokesperson said: "Tina Turner, the 'Queen of Rock 'n' Roll' died peacefully today at the age of 83 after a long illness in her home in Kusnacht near Zurich, Switzerland.Did Tina Turner get her money back? ›
Turner said that she never received any money in the settlement, just two cars and the rights to her stage name. "The divorce, I got nothing.How many biological kids did Tina Turner have? ›
Tina Turner was married to Ike Turner for 16 years until they divorced in 1978. The couple had two biological sons Ronald Renelle Turner and Craig Raymond Turner and Tina adopted two of Ike's other children Ike Turner Jr. and Michael Turner and raised them as her own.Who will receive Tina Turner's estate? ›
Following the passing of the legendary singer Tina Turner on May 24, the question arises as to who will inherit her substantial estate, estimated to be worth around $250 million. Turner's husband, German music executive Erwin Bach, is expected to receive approximately half of her fortune.Does Tina Turner have a biological daughter? ›
Ronald, also known as Ronnie, was born on October 27, 1960, and is the only biological child of Tina and Ike. Tina was pregnant with Ronnie during her first national TV performance on American Bandstand on October 3, 1960.How much did Tina Turner sell her rights for? ›
Tina Turner sold catalog in reported $50M deal before death at 83.Why did Ike hit Tina? ›
That same year, the pair's friendship turned romantic, and Tina quickly became pregnant. According to Tina's autobiography, she soon told Ike that she did not want to continue their relationship — and he reportedly responded by “striking her in the head with a wooden shoe stretcher.”
He claimed he was married 14 times.Did Ike and Tina ever reconcile? ›
It would take decades for the singer to forgive her former husband, who died in 2007. “As an old person, I have forgiven him, but it would not work with him,” she told The Times. “He asked for one more tour with me, and I said, 'No, absolutely not. ' Ike wasn't someone you could forgive and allow him back in.”How old was Tina Turner when she sang her last concert? ›
"It was beyond impressive." Turner was 69 at the time of her last concert, but Andrew Curphey, from Widnes, recalled the her tireless performance. He remembered her rushing across the stage in high heels and said: "She was just such a physical performer, she filled that stage.What ethnicity was Tina Turner? ›
The youngest daughter of a family of sharecroppers, Turner's father, Floyd Richard Bullock, was an African American Baptist deacon and her mother, Zelma Currie, was a farmer of part-Cherokee and Navajo descent.What surgery has Tina Turner had? ›
Tina Turner - Tina Turner admitted to having a nose job, which she said was corrective. Due to the abuse she experienced with her ex-husband, Ike Turner, her nose was altered to remove broken cartilage.Did Tina Turner ever have a child? › How much money does Tina Turner husband have? ›
Tina Turner's husband, Erwin Bach, isn't a billionaire, but he's plenty wealthy, with an estimated net worth of $50 million.How old was Tina Turner when she had her baby? ›
Prior to her marriage to Ike Turner, 18-year-old Tina Turner, born Anna Mae Bullock, welcomed her first child, a son named Craig, with musician Raymond Hill, who played the saxophone in Ike Turner's band, the Kings of Rhythm.Does Tina Turner have a relationship with her sons? ›
Turner admitted that she had a strained relationship with her sons including refusing to support them financially. Ike Turner Jr. was the son who most followed in his famous parents footsteps. For a while he was a sound engineer for his mother.Does Tina Turner have any children with her husband? ›
The singer shared one biological son with her musical partner and husband, Ike Turner. Tina and Ike's only biological son together, Ronnie Turner, was born on October 27, 1960.
Legendary singer Tina Turner has sold the rights to her music catalog to music publishing company BMG, the New York Daily News reports.Why did Tina Turner change her name? ›
Tina Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock. When she first started performing, she used the stage name “Little Ann.” In 1960 she was given the moniker “Tina Turner” by her partner Ike Turner. (He reportedly had the name trademarked so that another singer could perform under the same name if she left the band.)What happened to Ike Turner after Tina left him? ›
Several years after his SPIN interview, Ike continued making music but never shook the public's opinion of him. Sadly, Ike also struggled with drugs for most of his life, which contributed to his death. On Dec. 12, 2007, he died of a drug overdose after decades of cocaine and crack addiction.Who is Tina Turner husband now? ›
Tina Turner fell in love with husband Erwin Bach when he delivered her a new Mercedes. Register for more free articles.How much did Tina Turner weigh? ›
Date of birth: November 26, 1939 (Age: 77 years) Height: 5' 4” (163 cm) Weight: 129 pounds (58 kg) Tina Turner body measurements: Chest: 36” (91,5 cm) Waist: 29” (74 cm) Hips: 38” (96,5 cm) Bra size: 34B Shoe size: 8,5 (US)/ 39 (EU) Hair color: Dark brown Eye color: Dark brown Thanks to her […]Did Tina ever forgive Ike? ›
In a new interview with The Times of London, legendary performer Tina Turner has revealed that she has forgiven her ex-husband Ike for years of physical and emotional abuse. When asked about Ike, Tina told the publication: As an old person, I have forgiven him, but it would not work with him...How much older was Ike than Tina? ›
The late 'Private Dancer' singer, who died on 24 May aged 83 from natural causes, married the German music producer, 67, in 2013 after ending her abusive marriage to Ike Turner, and first got serious with him when she was 46. man who was 16 years younger than me. “But that was never an issue in my mind, then or now.Did Ike Turner have any children? › Did Tina Turner have children with Ike Turner? › Did Ike Turner have any daughters? ›
Ike Turner, the R&B musician, songwriter, bandleader, producer, talent scout and ex-husband of Tina Turner, died on Wednesday at his home in San Marcos, Calif., a San Diego suburb. He was 76.When was the last time Tina Turner was seen in public? ›
Turner's final public appearance was in November 2019 when she attended opening night of Tina: The Tina Turner Musical's opening night in New York. She was pictured seated and appearing to need assistance walking, at one point arm-in-arm with Oprah Winfrey.What was Tina Turner's biggest concert? ›
She also set one astounding concert-attendance record that many people might not be aware of. On January 16, 1988, Turner performed for approximately 188,000 fans at Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.Did Tina Turner have a stroke? ›
The queen of rock 'n' roll died peacefully in her home in Switzerland on Wednesday, May 24, 2023. In the years leading up to her death, the star had been open about the health problems she faced, including intestinal cancer in 2016, a kidney transplant in 2017 and a stroke in 2013.What religion is Tina? ›
Tina Turner appears with Buddhist and Christian faith leaders in Zurich, Switzerland, in 2009. While Tina Turner is heralded as an R&B and rock icon, her Buddhist faith was the soul that drove her eventful life and career.What happened to Tina Turner's kidneys? ›
Turner's battle with kidney issues began in 1978, when she was diagnosed with hypertension. Not realizing the danger that her high blood pressure posed, she never made much of an effort to control it, as she wrote in a story posted on ShowYourKidneysLove.com, a kidney awareness website.What does died of natural causes mean? ›
It might not seem to mean much at all. But when a death certificate says a person's death was “natural,” it is really ruling out the involvement of external causes. The person did not take their own life and they were not killed by somebody else or in an accident such as a car crash or drug overdose.What's considered natural causes of death? ›
Natural is defined as death caused solely by disease or natural process. If natural death is hastened by injury (such as a fall or drowning in a bathtub), the manner of death is not considered natural.
In the film, she tells how she wants to enter the third and final chapter of her life out of the spotlight, and it is revealed that she has a form of post-traumatic stress disorder from the domestic abuse she suffered at the hands of her first husband and music partner, Ike Turner.Did Tina Turner have any children? ›
What Is the Most Common Cause of Natural Death Worldwide? The three leading causes of death throughout the world include heart disease, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.What months do most deaths occur? ›
People die daily from causes ranging from common ailments, such as heart disease, to rare occurrences, such as getting hit by lightning. But during which month do the most deaths happen in the United States? The deadliest month in the U.S. is the one that heralds the New Year: January.What is the most common cause of sudden death? ›
Coronary artery disease causes most cases (80%) of sudden cardiac death. In people who are younger, congenital (since birth) heart defects or genetic abnormalities in their heart's electrical system are often the cause. In people age 35 and older, the cause is more often related to coronary artery disease.What is death by old age? ›
To “die of old age” means that someone has died naturally from an ailment associated with aging. The same usually goes for “dying of natural causes.” Traditionally, government health authorities have required resident's causes of death to be listed on death certificates.What is the primary cause of death for individuals who are 85 years or older? ›
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for most of the groups.What is the number one non natural cause of death? ›
Injuries and violence affect everyone, regardless of age, race, or economic status.Did Tina Turner ever find love? ›
Prior to Turner's passing, the couple opened up in the 2021 HBO documentary Tina.What age did Tina Turner stop performing? ›
"It was beyond impressive." Turner was 69 at the time of her last concert, but Andrew Curphey, from Widnes, recalled the her tireless performance.How many times did Tina Turner marry? ›
Turner, who was born Anna Mae Bullock, died Wednesday at the age of 83. The iconic singer, who was inducted as a solo artist into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2021, was married twice.How many sons did Tina Turner lose? ›
Tina Turner had one son with her first husband, Ike Turner. She also adopted his other two sons. Before the couple's marriage, the singer had welcomed a son with another member of Kings of Rhythm. She experienced the loss of both her biological sons before her death at the age of 83.