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Tina Turner, Rock and Soul Legend, Dead at 83

Tina Turner Dead at 83
James Francisco

Tina Turner has passed away from a long battle with intestinal cancer. She was 83 years old.

Turner was ill for several years after receiving the diagnosis in 2016, and a kidney transplant in 2017.

Turner was a formative figure in rock ‘n’ roll, pioneering the genre for Black women. She became a household name following the release of her record-breaking solo album, Private Dancer in 1984, and became known for her high-energy performances. Before this, her career began and endured for 20 years alongside her abusive ex-husband, Ike Turner, with whom she toured the country to great fanfare.

Born Anna Mae Bullock on Nov. 26, 1939, in Nutbush, Tennessee, the young singer first got her start with Ike’s band in St. Louis—but only after she proved herself. Ike had previously turned down her appeal to join his group, only extending her an invitation when she stole the mic and performed her own version of BB King’s “You Know I Love You.” 

Ike proposed the stage name Tina Turner and even trademarked it in case they parted ways.

Her recorded debut was her and Ike’s song, “A Fool in Love” in 1960, which made it into the US Top 30. The pair quickly became a phenomenon due to their live performances, which saw them tour the Chitlin’ Circuit. In 1964, they signed to the Warner Bros. imprint Loma Records and released their first album together, Live! The Ike & Tina Turner Show, which charted.

They continued to release chart-topping music and win Grammys together until Turner left Ike in 1976 due to abuse and infidelity. The last single she made with the group was “Baby, Get It On,” from The Who’s 1975 film adaptation of the rock opera, Tommy. Turner and Ike divorced in 1978, from which Turner got two cars and the rights to her stage name.

Her story has been told multiple times, in numerous genres: one biopic, one jukebox musical, three memoirs, and the documentary film Tina, released in 2021.

Both of Turner's biological sons died prior to her passing. Her first son, Craig Raymond Turner died by suicide in July 2018 at the age of 59. Her younger son, Ronnie Renelle Turner died in December 2022, reportedly from colon cancer. She also adopted two of Ike's sons, Ike Turner Jr. and Michael Turner.

RIP Tina Turner.

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