Tina Turner, the unstoppable singer and stage performer who teamed with husband Ike Turner for a dynamic run of hit records and live shows in the 1960s and ‘70s and survived her horrifying marriage to triumph in middle age with the chart-topping, What’s Love Got to Do With It, has died at 83.
Turner died Tuesday, after a long illness in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland, according to her manager. She became a Swiss citizen a decade ago.
“She was truly an enormously talented performer and singer,” tweeted Mick Jagger, whom Turner helped in shaping his own dynamic stage presence. “She was inspiring, warm, funny and generous. She helped me so much when I was young and I will never forget her.”
Few stars travelled so far – she was born Anna Mae Bullock in a segregated Tennessee hospital and spent her latter years on a 260,000sq-foot (24,000sq-metre) estate on Lake Zurich – and overcame so much. Physically battered, emotionally devastated and financially ruined by her 20-year relationship with Ike Turner, she became a superstar on her own in her 40s, at a time when most of her peers were on their way down, and remained a top concert draw for years after.
With admirers ranging from Jagger to Beyoncé to Mariah Carey, Turner was one of the world’s most popular entertainers, known for a core of pop, rock and rhythm and blues favourites: Proud Mary, Nutbush City Limits, River Deep, Mountain High, and the hits she had in the ’80s, among them, What’s Love Got to Do with It, We Don’t Need Another Hero and a cover of Al Green’s, Let’s Stay Together.
Her trademarks included a growling contralto that might smoulder or explode, her bold smile and strong cheekbones, her palette of wigs and the muscular, quick-stepping legs she did not shy from showing off. She sold more than 150 million records worldwide, won 12 Grammys, was voted along with Ike into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 (and on her own in 2021 ) and was honoured at the Kennedy Center in 2005, with Beyoncé and Oprah Winfrey among those praising her. Her life became the basis for a film, a Broadway musical and an HBO documentary in 2021 that she called her public farewell.
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