"The Queen of Rock 'n' Roll" Tina Turner Dies at 83 1:46
(CNN) -- Rock and soul singer Tina Turner has died at the age of 83. From humble beginnings, Turner overcame an abusive marriage and became one of the most popular female artists of all time.
"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Tina Turner. With his music and boundless passion for life, he captivated millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow. Today we say goodbye to a dear friend who leaves us her greatest work: her music. Our sincerest compassion goes out to his family. Tina, we will miss you so much," read the statement posted on her verified Facebook account.
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CNN has reached out to Turner's representatives for further comment.
A fascinating live artist, Turner had a string of R&B hits in the 1960s and early 1970s alongside her domineering and violent husband Ike Turner before she left him, running away from his Dallas hotel room on 36 cents.
His solo career faltered for years before achieving a surprise comeback in 1984 with his multi-platinum album "Private Dancer" and his No. 1 hit, "What's Love Got to Do With It."
Singer Tina Turner presents her single "GoldenEye" for the James Bond film of the same name, on November 22, 1995, in Paris, France. (Credit: JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP via Getty Images)
Before long, Turner became a global superstar, leading MTV with her flashy wigs, short skirts and famously long legs strolling the concert stages in heels.
Her talent earned her worldwide recognition as the "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll," while her endurance made her a hero to battered women everywhere. When he sang about pain and anguish in his hoarse voice every word rang true.
"For a long time I felt like I was trapped, 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 me a few years, but I was finally able to defend my life and start over."
"He knew I had the potential to be a star."
She was born Anna Mae Bullock in 1939 to a family of poor sharecroppers near Nutbush, Tennessee, a rural community north of Memphis that she later made famous in her autobiographical song, "Nutbush City Limits." He lived his early years with his grandmother, after his parents separated.
"We were not in poverty. We had food on the table. We just didn't have fancy stuff, like bicycles," Turner said in a 2005 interview with Oprah Winfrey.
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"We were church people, so at Easter we made up. I was very innocent and didn't know much else. He knew radio — B.B. King, country and western," Turner said. "But that's it. I didn't know anything about being a star until white people allowed us to come down and watch their TV once a week."
Following the death of his grandmother in the 1950s, Turner and his sister Ruby moved to St. Louis, Missouri, to live with their mother.
It was in St. Louis that he began visiting some of the local clubs and met musician Ike Turner, whose band, Kings of Rhythm, was popular in the area. He recruited her at age 17 to join his band as a singer.
Musician Ike Turner (1931 - 2007) with Tina Turner at Heathrow Airport in London, UK, on October 27, 1975. (Credit: Frederick R. Bunt/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
"Ike had to come to the house and ask 'Ma' if it was okay for me to sing with him. I knew I had the potential to be a star. We were close, like brother and sister," Turner told Winfrey. "On his nights off, we would drive around the city 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.' And he meant it. He was very kind to me then, but I also got to see the other side of him."
She began acting as Tina Turner and, in 1960, 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 stated in his autobiography and in several interviews, the physical abuse began near the beginning of the relationship.
Ike Turner would rage at the slightest provocation, she said, adding that he would hit her with anything available: hangers, phones, a wooden shoebox, his fists. Often, she said, he would even beat her before going on stage.
"He would 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 embarrassing part," Turner told Winfrey.
Tina sang most of her songs with the help of female backup singers, while her husband remained in the background, usually on guitar. Their musical partnership produced 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 charts and won a Grammy.
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But offstage, their marriage remained tumultuous, fueled in part by Ike Turner's cocaine addiction.
"Another night we had a fight in the dressing room, and when I went on stage, my face was swollen," he told Winfrey. "I think I broke my nose because blood was dripping from my mouth when I sang. Before, I had been able to hide under makeup. But you can't hide the swelling."
Tina stood by Ike Turner for over a decade, terrified by his temper but determined not to abandon him as others had done.
Until things came to a head in July 1976 when they flew to Dallas for a show. Turner wrote in her book that after the plane flight, her husband began beating her in a car on the way to the hotel. While he slept, she left her room with only a Mobil credit card and 36 cents.
Tina Turner at the Brighton Centre, in Brighton, UK, on March 11, 1985. (Credit: John Rogers/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
He fled across a busy road to a motel, where a compassionate receptionist saw his bloodied face and gave him a room. She then called a lawyer she knew, who arranged for a friend to pick her up and put her on a plane back to Los Angeles.
"After my plane landed in California, my heart was terrified. I was afraid that Ike was there because again that I had fled, he located me on a bus...," she told Oprah. "So when I got off that plane, I ran like crazy. I said to myself, 'If he's here, I'm going to call the police screaming. And I had a phrase in my head: 'I'll die before I go back.'"
His rise to international fame
By then, a friend had introduced Turner to Buddhism and its chanting practice, to which she attributes the strength to leave her husband. Raised as a Baptist, Turner embraced Buddhism in middle age and said its teachings changed her life.
Tina and Ike formally divorced in 1978 after a lengthy 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 children. The divorce nearly ruined her financially, and for the next few years Turner acted in television specials and in Las Vegas as she struggled to rebuild her career.
His return gained momentum after he 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 version of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" became a hit in England.
Then came "Private Dancer," which spawned three Top 10 hits, won all three of its Grammy Awards, and eventually sold more than 10 million copies. Although she initially disliked the song and had to convince her to record it, "What's Love Got to Do With It" made her, at age 44, the oldest female artist to achieve a number one hit.
In 1985, at the height of her career, Tina participated in the 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," achieving another hit with "We Don't Need Another Hero," a song from the film.
The following year, Turner recounted her early career and abusive marriage in a best-selling memoir, "I, Tina," which was adapted into a hit 1993 film called "What's Love Got To Do With It" and starring Angela Bassett.
Successful albums, singles and sold-out concerts continued into the late 80s and 90s, and Turner continued to give an impressive live show well into the new millennium, especially in England.
Turner moved to Switzerland in the 1990s with her German boyfriend Erwin Bach, an executive at her record company. He was 16 years younger. The couple married in 2013 after a 27-year romantic relationship and in 2022 bought a $76 million property on Lake Zurich.
"I pay taxes here (in the U.S.). My family is here," he told CNN's Larry King in 1997. "I left America because my (greatest) success was in another country and my boyfriend was in another country. Europe has been a great support for my music."
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 was preceded in death by his two sons, Craig, who died in 2018, and Ronnie, in 2022.
"Some of the happiest moments of my life were the birth of my beautiful babies, Craig and Ronnie, and marriage to my partner and soulmate, Erwin Bach," she told NBC's Today Show in 2021.
Professionally, he said, his happiest moments were the live performances.
"One of the first goals of my career 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.
1 of 52 | See in this gallery the celebrities who have died in 2023 →2 of 52 | Rock and soul singer Tina Turner has died at age 83, according to a post on her verified account on May 24. From humble beginnings, Turner overcame an abusive marriage and became one of the most popular female artists of all time. 3 of 52 | Ray Stevenson, an actor who appeared in "RRR" and the "Thor" films, died Sunday, May 21, his publicist Nicki Fioravante confirmed to CNN. He was 58. 4 of 52 | British writer Martin Amis died on May 19 at the age of 73, according to his publisher Penguin Books UK. Amis' wife, author Isabel Fonseca, told the New York Times that the cause of his death was esophageal cancer. Credit: David Levenson/Getty Images5 of 52 | Jim Brown, a former Cleveland Browns player and prominent civil rights activist, died May 19 at age 87, the team said. Look in the gallery at the other celebrities who have died in 2023. 6 of 52 | Andy Rourke, bassist for legendary English rock band The Smiths, died aged 59 on May 19 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. (Credit: Damien Maguire/Shutterstock) 7 of 52 | Gordon Lightfoot, a Canadian singer-songwriter, died at age 84 on May 1, spokeswoman Victoria Lord told CNN. 8 of 52 | Jerry Springer, former mayor of Cincinnati and longtime television host, has died at age 79, Bradley Singer, his manager, said Thursday, April 27. (Credit: Ralf-Finn Hestoft/Corbis Entertainment/Getty Images) 9 of 52 | Harry Belafonte, the singer, actor and activist who became an indispensable supporter of the civil rights movement, died Tuesday, April 25 at age 96, his publicist Ken Sunshine told CNN. Belafonte died of congestive heart failure. (Credit: Archive Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) 10 of 52 | Former "Dancing With the Stars" judge Len Goodman died Saturday, April 22, at age 78. The English dance expert died in a hospital in Kent, southern England, after a battle with bone cancer. (Credit: Stuart Wilson/Getty Images) 11 of 52 | Australian comedian Barry Humphries, best known for his drag character Dame Edna Everage, died at the age of 89 on Saturday, April 22. A few days earlier, on Wednesday, the artist had been readmitted to hospital for complications following hip surgery last month. (Credit: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images) 12 of 52 | K-Pop star Moon Bin, a member of the band Astro, died at age 25 on Wednesday, April 19, his music label Fantagio reported. His representative said he found the artist dead at his home in southern Seoul, South Korea. (Credit: JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images) 13 of 52 | Julian Figueroa, son of actress Maribel Guardia and singer Joan Sebastian, has died at the age of 28, Mexico's National Association of Interpreters announced Monday, April 10. (Credit: Maribel Guardia/Instagram) 14 of 52 | Andrés García, a renowned actor in Mexico of Dominican origin, died at age 81 on April 4, 2024, confirmed Margarita Portillo, wife of the artist. Garcia was known for a vast career in film and television and notable roles such aslán of Mexican telenovelas. 15 of 52 | World-renowned Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto has died at the age of 71 after battling cancer. His death occurred on March 28, 2023 and was confirmed by the company representing him on April 2. 16 of 52 | María Kodama, writer, translator, widow and executor of renowned author Jorge Luis Borges, died at the age of 86 on Sunday, March 26 in the town of Vicente López, Argentina. 17 of 52 | Actor, comedian and producer Xavier López Rodríguez, popularly known as "Chabelo," died on March 25 at the age of 88, his official Twitter account confirmed. 18 of 52 | Mexican actress Rebecca Jones died on March 22 at age 65. According to the agency that represented her, she died accompanied by her family (Credit: Instagram/La_rebeccajones)19 of 52 | Willis Reed, NBA star and hero of the New York Knicks, died at age 80 on March 21, 2023. 20 of 52 | Lance Reddick, an actor known for his portrayal of Cedric Daniels in "The Wire" and for his work on the "John Wick" franchise, died Friday, March 17, his manager, Mia Hansen, said. He was 60 years old. 21 of 52 | Mexican actor Ignacio López Tarso died at the age of 98 on March 11, the National Association of Interpreters of Mexico (ANDI) reported on its Twitter account. Credit: LUIS ACOSTA/AFP via Getty Images22 of 52 | Robert Blake, actor of "In Cold Blood" and "Lost Highway," died at age 89 on March 9, 2023, according to his daughter, Delinah Blake. (Credit: Brian To/FilmMagic/FilmMagic/Getty Images) 23 of 52 | Gary Rossington, guitarist of the American rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, died on Sunday, March 5, his band said in a statement on Facebook. Credit: Amy Harris/Invision/Amy Harris/AP/File24 of 52 | Tom Sizemore, an actor known for his work in hit films such as "Rescuing Private Ryan," "Natural Born Killers" and "Heat," died March 3, his manager Charles Lago confirmed to CNN. He was 61. 25 of 52 | Irma Serrano "La Tigresa", renowned singer of rancheras and corridos and Mexican actress, died at the age of 89 on March 1. 26 of 52 | French footballer Just Fontaine — who still holds the record for most goals scored in a single World Cup — has died at the age of 89. 27 of 52 | Richard Belzer, the comedian and actor best known for playing acid detective John Munch on several NBC police series such as "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," died at age 78 on Feb. 19, his representative said. 28 of 52 | Actress Stella Stevens, Hollywood star of the 60s and 70s, dies at the age of 84. Her son said he was coming off a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. 29 of 52 | Raquel Welch, star of 'Fantastic Voyage', has died at the age of 82, her manager confirmed on February 15. (Credit: Rich Fury/Getty Images for Pantelion Films) 30 of 52 | Carlos Saura died on February 10 in Madrid at the age of 91. The Spanish filmmaker, photographer and screenwriter is the author of works such as "La caza", "Cría Cuervos" "Carmen" or "Dispara, dispara"31 of 52 | Burt Bacharach died at age 94 on February 9. He is the writer of classic pop c hits.omo "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head"32 of 52 | Oscar-nominated Melinda Dillon who starred in films such as "A Christmas Story" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," has died at age 83, according to an obituary released by a cremation service in Long Beach, California. 33 of 52 | Iconic Spanish designer Paco Rabanne died at the age of 88 on February 3. The Spaniard, whose birth name is Francisco Rabaneda Cuervo, founded his eponymous fashion house in 1966 generating praise and controversy for his bold creations. 34 of 52 | Lisa Loring, best known as the first actress to play Wednesday (Merlina) Addams in the original comedy "The Addams Family," died at age 64 on Saturday, Jan. 28, her daughter confirmed. 35 of 52 | Actress Annie Wersching died of cancer on Jan. 29, her publicist, Craig Schneider, told CNN. She was 45 years old and was recognized for her work on the series "24" and for being the voice of Tess in "The Last of Us". 36 of 52 | Tom Verlaine, a founding member of influential New York Television punk band, died Jan. 28 at age 73 "after a brief illness," Jesse Paris Smith reported. 37 of 52 | Mexican comedian Leopoldo Roberto García Peláez Benítez, known as "Polo Polo," died on January 23, his family announced. 38 of 52 | David Crosby, legendary singer-songwriter and one of the founding members of Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, has died at age 81, his family announced Jan. 19, 2023. 39 of 52 | Italian small screen legend Gina Lollobrigida has died aged 95 on January 16, 2023. Lollobrigida starred in Pan, amor y sueños, La mujer deserrada and Mujer de Roma. Along with Sophia Loren, she came to symbolize Italian actresses in the 1950s and 1960s. (Credit: ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images) 40 of 52 | Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley, died Jan. 12 after suffering cardiac arrest. He was 54 years old and his death was confirmed by his mother, Priscilla Presley, in a statement. 41 of 52 | Tatjana Patitz, who rose to fame in fashion in the '90s as an animal-loving supermodel with a piercing gaze, died of cancer on Wednesday, Jan. 11. He was 56. (Credit: Arthur Elgort/Condé Nast/Shutterstock) 42 of 52 | Carole Cook, a well-known actress and Broadway star, has died, her agent Robert Malcolm said in a statement. He was 98. 43 of 52 | Legendary rock guitarist Jeff Beck has died in January 2023, according to a statement posted on his official social media accounts. He was 78. 44 of 52 | Cardinal George Pell, the highest-ranking Catholic official to be convicted of child sex abuse before his acquittal in 2020, died Jan. 10 at age 81. 45 of 52 | Constantine II, the last king of Greece, died at the age of 82 on January 10. 46 of 52 | Adam Rich, an actor who rose to fame as a child playing the youngest member of the Bradford family, Nicholas, in the television drama "Eight Is Enough," died Jan. 8 at age 54, according to the Los Angeles County medical examiner. 47 of 52 | Italian footballer great Gianluca Vialli died at the age of 58 on January 6 after a battle with cancer. of pancreas. (Credit: Alex Grimm/Getty Images) 48 of 52 | Marcio Freire, legendary Brazilian surfer (pictured here on the right wearing a white collar), died on January 5 riding giant waves in Nazaré, Portugal. Jet ski support staff managed to get the 47-year-old to the beach, but all attempts to revive him failed. Freire was one of three Brazilian surfers who became known as the "Mad Dogs" — like the 2016 documentary — after conquering the giant "Jaws" wave in Hawaii. (Credit: Getty Images) 49 of 52 | Walter Cunningham, a retired NASA astronaut who piloted the first flight on the space agency's famed Apollo program, died Jan. 3. He was 90 years old. This photo shows Cunningham aboard Apollo 7 in October 1968. (Credit: NASA) 50 of 52 | Professional rally driver and YouTube star Ken Block died in a snowmobile accident on January 2. He was 55. Before embarking on his career as a rally driver, Block co-founded sportswear company DC Shoes in 1994, which became one of the world's most recognizable skate apparel brands. (Paulo Oliveira/DPI/NurPhoto/Getty Images) 51 of 52 | Fred White, drummer for the classic 1970s band Earth, Wind & Fire, died Jan. 2, according to an Instagram post by his older brother and former bandmate, Verdine White. He was 67. With the band, White won six Grammy Awards and was nominated a total of 13 times. In 2000, Earth, Wind & Fire was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. (Credit: Rob Verhorst/Redferns/Getty Images) 52 of 52 | Art McNally, the "father of instant replay" and the first playful official to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, died Jan. 1 at age 97.