The barrier-breaking Queen of Rock’n’roll, Tina Turner, died on Wednesday morning in Switzerland after briefly battling cancer. Turner was a powerhouse woman and musician known for hit songs like River Deep, Mountain High (1966), and “Proud Mary” (1971), and she was one half of the duo Ike and Turner with her late husband.
Turner’s management team released a statement on Wednesday confirming that she passed away in her adopted home country, Switzerland, where she was a naturalized citizen.
“Tina Turner, the ‘Queen of Rock’n Roll’ has died peacefully today at the age of 83 after a long illness in her home in Kusnacht near Zurich, Switzerland. With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model,” the statement read.
Before her death, Turner was battling intestinal cancer, which she was diagnosed with in 2016, and dealing with complications from a kidney transplant she had in 2017.
Turner’s life and work have inspired generations of women and artists, and she has been a pioneer in the black community, which cultivated the rock’n’roll genre. Her life was no walk in the park as her biggest opponent was also her abusive husband, Ike Turner, from whom she split professionally to pursue her solo career.
Born Anna Mae Bullock on 26 November 1939, she grew up in Nutbush, Tennessee, where she said in a 2021 documentary that her family picked cotton. Her musical inclinations started with her participation in the church choir, and later she joined her husband’s Ike band.
Thereafter, Tina Turner was born, a name given by Ike and which he also trademarked to ensure that she couldn’t leave the band. That was the beginning of the abuse she suffered at Ike’s hands.
“My relationship with Ike was doomed the day he figured out I was going to be his moneymaker,” she said in her biography My Love Story published in 2018. “He needed to control me, economically and psychologically, so I could never leave him.”
On Wednesday, fans reacted to the news of her death. “You were my icon growing up in the ’80s and ’90s. You had such courage and strength! May you rest in power now Miss Tina Turner. LEGS OF STEEL!” one fan wrote on Twitter. “Rest in peace, Tina Turner. A true icon and queen of music with the sultriest singing voice,” Another said.
The hip-hop community also celebrated the life of Turner with Ciara writing on Twitter, “Heaven has gained an angel. Rest in paradise, Tina Turner. Thank you for the inspiration you gave us.”