Tina Turner, the legendary singer-songwriter known as the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” has died. “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 Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland,” her family said in a statement Wednesday (May 24). “With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model.”
Born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939 in Brownsville, Tennessee, Turner grew up singing in her church choir as a young girl. She spent most of her childhood and teenage years living with her grandparents, and worked as a nurse’s aide in St. Louis after graduating from high school. In the mid-1950s, Turner and her sister began frequenting the nightclub scene in the St. Louis area, where she met Ike Turner playing with his band the Kings of Rhythm. She began performing with the band as a backup vocalist but became the star of the show just two years later, adopting the stage name Tina Turner. The couple found success in 1960 with ‘A Fool in Love’, which hit No. 2 on the Hot R&B Sides chart and No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In the late ’60s, Ike and Tina Turner began incorporating more rock into their music, and in 1971 scored their biggest hit with their cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Proud Mary’. By the mid-1970s, however, Ike’s addiction to cocaine put a strain on his relationship with Tina, who later revealed Ike was abusive throughout their marriage. She left him in 1976, and their divorce was finalized two years later. Turner’s first solo album, Tina Turns the Country On!, came out in 1973, and was followed by several albums for United Artists during the 1970s.
In 1984, Turner returned with Private Dancer, which came to be known as her comeback album. ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It’, its second single, became her first and only No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1986, Turner published her bestselling memoir, I, Tina, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Ike Turner in 1991. In 2018, her work was adapted into the jukebox musical Tina. Turner released a total of nine albums, won twelve Grammys including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and holds the record as the eighth best-selling female artist of all time across all genres.