Rock icon Tina Turner dies at 83

2023-05-24 19:50:54

Rock legend Tina Turner is dead. The US-born singer and actress, who rose from the humblest of circumstances and an abusive first marriage to become one of the most successful entertainers of all time, died on Wednesday at the age of 83. The Swiss-by-choice died peacefully after a long illness in her house in Küsnacht near Zurich, Sky News quoted a spokesman as saying on Wednesday evening.

The “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll” brought an audience of millions into ecstasy with her powerful voice, daring costumes, sexy dance routines and exuberant energy. World hits like “Private Dancer”, “Simply the Best”, “We Don’t Need Another Hero” or “What’s Love Got To Do With It” secured her a permanent place in the Olympus of pop in the 1980s and 1990s. After a farewell tour in 2009, she retired into private life at the age of 70. According to her own statements, after decades of hard work, she now enjoyed life without obligations.

After that, Turner rarely appeared in public, for example to promote a book or a musical about her life story. With her German partner Erwin Bach, who is 16 years her junior, she has lived on Lake Zurich in Switzerland since the 1990s. The two celebrated a lavish wedding party there in 2013. Turner also took Swiss citizenship that year.

The White House described the death of the rock icon as “incredibly sad” news. In Austria, Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) was concerned. “With Tina Turner, an exceptional artist has left the stage forever. A woman with great humanity and an incredibly difficult personal story. Her music has shaped entire generations,” he wrote on Twitter.

Turner rose to fame as a duo with then-husband Ike Turner in the ’60s and ’70s. Hits like “River Deep – Mountain High”, “Proud Mary”, and “Nutbush City Limits” stormed the charts in many countries. As Turner revealed much later, the marriage was an ordeal for her. Ike beat and bullied her. She fled from him at the age of 37. Turner gave up all financial claims from the joint music creation in order to get through the divorce quickly and started with a solo career.

At the age of 45 she shone in the spotlight again: the album “Private Dancer” was her solo breakthrough in 1984. From then on she filled stadiums and music stages all over the world and landed several world hits. Turner has won numerous music awards. In 2021 she was inducted into the “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame” in Cleveland, USA. “If they’re still giving me awards at 81, I must have done something right,” she joked at the ceremony via video link from Switzerland.

Turner had two biological sons who predeceased her at ages 59 and 62. She herself had colon cancer and kidney failure. Her husband donated one of his kidneys to her in 2017. In the 2019 autobiography “My Love Story” she reported on many painful experiences in life, but honored Bach as her savior and the greatest love of her life.

Turner integrated well in her adopted country of Switzerland. As reported by the Swiss news agency sda, she learned German and voted “exemplarily” in the federal referendum. She has arrived in Switzerland and the food also suits her, she said. In addition to cheese, she was particularly taken with the Swiss sourdough roll “Bürli”. She gave the city of Küsnacht the Christmas lights for her 75th birthday. In December 2021 she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Bern for her “unique musical-artistic life’s work”.

Ike & Tina Turner – Nutbush City Limits (1973)

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