Rock icon Tina Turner dies, age 83

US-born musical legend Tina Turner has passed away at her home in Switzerland, her representative has said. The singer was known for hit songs such as "Proud Mary" and "What's Love Got to Do With It."

Rock icon Tina Turner dies, age 83 (Photo: DW)
Rock icon Tina Turner dies, age 83 (Photo: DW)


Tina Turner, widely known as the world's "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll" died on Wednesday at the age of 83, her representatives announced.

She was among the biggest recording artists of all time. Her biggest hits include "What's Love Got to Do with It" and "(Simply) The Best."

Death after long illness

The US-born, Swiss-naturalized singer passed away in her home near Zurich after a long illness, her representatives said in a statement.

Her official Facebook page announced her passing on Wednesday evening.

"With her music and her boundless passion for life, she enchanted millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow," the post read.

Rise to stardom

Turner came from humble beginnings, born in the US state of Tennessee as Anna Mae Bullock in 1939.

Her first encounter with fame came during performances alongside her former husband Ike Turner. During the 20-year relationship, she was physically and emotionally abused — later leaving the relationship and becoming one of the first celebrities to speak frankly about domestic violence.

She then became a superstar as a solo artist in her 40s, enjoying even wider success — known for her electric stage presence, powerful voice and shimmering costumes.

Celebrating her final world tour in 2009, Tina Turner gave her last concert on May 5, in Sheffield, England, naturally in front of a sold-out audience. Then, at the age of 69, her career in the limelight was finally over. "It was a great show, really wonderful," she said years later in a rare interview with the BBC.

The next day she took a deep breath and decided: "That was it. There's no way I'm going back." For more than 50 years, she had spent almost every night on a bus, plane, in a car or a hotel. "There was only that life for me. And at some point, I didn't want to dance and sing anymore. I wanted to be at home and be normal."

For a long time, it remained a secret that she had been seriously ill in her later years of life. She survived a stroke, suffered from colon cancer and received a kidney transplant. The organ was donated by her husband in 2017, but before that, she had been dependent on dialysis for many years.

Nevertheless, Tina remained confident and recovered. The self-confessed Buddhist was never afraid of death. "I don't believe in God and the Devil; that there's someone there who tells you what you did right and what you did wrong," she told German weekly Die Zeit in 2018. Turner was convinced that every deceased person begins a new life at some point. "We go and take a break. And then we come back — and start over again," she believed. It was at her secluded home in Switzerland where the songstress reportedly passed away aged 83.

An icon of resilience

After her retreat from the stage, she recorded Buddhist texts for a spiritual music project. In 2018, she was a consultant for the creators of the Tina Turner Musical. That same year, her memoirs My Love Story were published. That book shows that Tina Turner was not only a wonderful singer, but also a tireless fighter.

TV star host Oprah Winfrey, Tina's longtime friend, put it in a nutshell: "Tina, you not only sing and dance. When people see you on stage, they know that you have fought your way out of the worst despair. That means no matter how far a woman has fallen, she can make it, just like you did."

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