RIP to a rock legend. After a celebrated career and time away from the limelight, many music fans are asking how did Tina Turner die?
The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll started off her career by singing in nightclubs in the 1950s with her then-husband and music collaborator Ike Turner. Their first single together “A Fool in Love” reached No. 27 on the Billboard 100. After several successful years in the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, Tina launched her own solo career and cemented her place in music history with her single “What’s Love Got To Do With It” which won three Grammys. Her legacy has been documented plenty of times, with a semi-autobiographical film What’s Love Got to Do With It (starring Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishbourne), a Broadway musical and a memoir.
So how did Tina Turner die? Read more below to find out.
How did Tina Turner die?
How did Tina Turner die? According to her publicist to Daily Mail, she died from “natural causes.” A previous press release said that she died of “long illness.” On May 24, 2023, her publicist Bernard Doherty said: “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.”
Tina Turner’s Cause of Death
In her later life, Turner was very open about her health problems and advocated for health awareness. Two months before her death, she wrote an Instagram post about her kidney problems for International Kidney Day. “My kidneys are victims of my not realising that my high blood pressure should have been treated with conventional medicine. I have put myself in great danger by refusing to face the reality that I need daily, lifelong therapy with medication. For far too long I believed that my body was an untouchable and indestructible bastion.”
The “Be Tender with Me Baby” also wrote a blog post about her own personal struggles for taking care of herself. “I have been suffering from hypertension for a long time, got diagnosed in 1978, but didn’t care much about it. I can’t remember ever getting an explanation about what high blood pressure means or how it affects the body. I considered high blood pressure my normal. Hence, I didn’t really try to control it. In 1985 a doctor gave me a prescription for pills of which I was supposed to take one a day, and that was it.” She continued on the ShowYourKidneysLove website. “I didn’t give it any more thought. After suffering a stroke in 2009 because of my poorly controlled hypertension I struggled to get back up on my feet. This is when I first learned that my kidneys didn’t work that well anymore. They had already lost thirty-five percent of their function. I tried to learn more about these organs’ function and meaning. Most people probably don’t even know where their kidneys are located and what they are for until their health is at stake.”
She resisted the thought of taking pills constantly, but sought a different way to be looking at things. “When a friend suggested a different approach and recommended a homeopathic doctor in France, I didn’t hesitate. He replaced my conventional medication by homeopathic medicine. And I was told to always drink, drink, drink. Indeed, I started feeling better after a while.” She further wrote, “If I had had any idea about the risk I was taking I would never have taken any chance on alternative medicine. The doctors made it very clear that the consequences of my decision were irreversible. My kidney function had reached its all-time low.”
Turner revealed in her memoir My Love Story in 2018 that she faced multiple life-threatening illnesses in her old age. In the 2010s she suffered multiple injuries including a stroke in 2013 and a kidney failure that led to a transplant from her long-term partner Erwin Bach in 2017.
“So I said well, if it’s time…I feel like I’m in my late 70s, my mother died at 84, my sister died at 74 and I thought maybe this was my time,” she wrote. Turner embraced Buddhism teachings, and added that “In Buddhism, you accept the life and the death. I was ready, I just thought it was my time.”
“Death is not a problem for me, I really don’t mind leaving,” she assured but also added that her partner donating her kidney made her feel more better. “I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life. I’m happier than I ever thought that life would become for me. So that means that most of my hardships came while I was young and growing up. And in the last days when normally people suffer from old age and sickness my happiness came. I’m really thoroughly happy.”
Though there were some setbacks after the transplant. “I did fall a couple of days ago and broke something so I was in a wheelchair and on crutches so maybe now I’m going through my sick period and I think that will take me through to my 90s,” she wrote.
In her blog post, she also revealed that she’s been going to the hospital regularly to check up on her health. “Every so often this required more hospital admissions. I kept feeling nauseous and dizzy, forgot things, and was scared a lot. These problems are still not quite resolved. I am on multiple prescriptions and take great care to follow my doctors’ orders meticulously. For I know that I can trust them and their therapies.”
Turner retired from music in 2009 after going on one of the best-selling tours of all time: the “Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour.” She moved to Switzerland with her husband in 1995 and became a naturalized citizen. “I don’t necessarily want to be a ‘strong’ person,” she told The New York Times. “I had a terrible life. I just kept going. You just keep going, and you hope that something will come.”
With over 200 million records sold worldwide, three Grammy Hall of Fame awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and dozens of Grammy nominations and eight wins under her belt, it’s safe to say that Turner’s legacy is truly invaluable. She reiterates the sentiment of life in her HBO documentary Tina. The star opens up about the post-traumatic stress disorder she suffered following abuse at the hands of her first husband, Ike Turner. “It wasn’t a good life. The good did not balance the bad,” she tells the documentary filmmakers. “I had an abusive life, there’s no other way to tell the story. It’s a reality. It’s a truth. That’s what you’ve got, so you have to accept it.”
Several celebrities gave tribute to the “The Best” singer. Magic Johnson tweeted and posted a picture with the singing legend, “Rest in peace to one of my favorite artists of all time, the legendary queen of rock n’ roll Tina Turner. I’ve seen her many many times and hands down, she gave one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. She always gave you your moneys worth.”
Fellow singer Gloria Gaynor tweeted her condolences. “I am so, so very sad to hear of the passing of @TinaTurner, the iconic legend who paved the way for so many women in rock music, black and white,” Gaynor wrote. “She did with great dignity & success what very few would even have dared to do in her time and in that genre of music.”
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