Tina Turner dies at 83

By Tori B. Powell, Maureen Chowdhury and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 11:20 p.m. ET, May 24, 2023
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4:52 p.m. ET, May 24, 2023

Tina Turner "died peacefully," family says

From CNN's Megan Thomas

Tina Turner's family said the iconic singer died after a "long illness."

“Tina Turner, the ‘Queen of Rock & 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 shared to CNN. “With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model.”

CNN has reached out to representatives of Turner.

8:47 p.m. ET, May 24, 2023

Tributes pour in on social media for Tina Turner: "You're simply the best"

Tributes are pouring in on social media following the death of iconic singer Tina Turner:

NBA legend Magic Johnson called her "one of my favorite artists of all time."

"She always gave you your moneys worth," the athlete said alongside a picture with Turner.

Grammy-winning singer Ciara thanked Turner "for the inspiration you gave us all."

"Heaven has gained an angel," she wrote on Twitter with pictures of Turner performing. "Rest in Paradise Tina Turner."

"I Will Survive" singer Gloria Gaynor spoke to Turner's trailblazing career in a tribute shared on Twitter.

"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."

Actor Forest Whitaker said Turner is "simply the best."

"Tina Turner was an icon, whom we loved for her voice, her dancing, and her spirit," he said on Twitter. "As we honor her, let’s also reflect on her resilience, and think about all the greatness that can follow our darkest days. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us, Tina. You’re simply the best."

Actress and singer Kelly Rowland expressed love for the singer on Instagram.

"Thank you Queen, for giving us your all!" she captioned a post featuring photos of Turner. "We Love You!!"

Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger called Turner his "wonderful friend" and shared pictures on Twitter of the two performing together.

Grammy-winning neo-soul singer Erykah Badu shared the news of Turner's passing on her Instagram account Wednesday.

"Cultural Icon down. Safe Journey Anna Mae Bullock," Badu wrote, addressing Turner by her birth name. "You were HERE."

Singer-songwriter Mariah Carey called Turner "an incredible performer, musician and trailblazer."

"The words legendary, iconic, diva, and superstar are often overused and yet Tina Turner embodies them all and so many more - an incredible performer, musician and trailblazer," Carey said on Twitter. "To me, she will always be a survivor and an inspiration to women everywhere. Her music will continue to inspire generations to come. Rest in Peace, Queen."
5:24 p.m. ET, May 24, 2023

White House calls Tina Turner's death a "massive, massive loss"

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

The White House called the death of Tina Turner "a massive, massive loss" on Wednesday after learning of the rock singer's passing.

"Tina Turner was an icon, a music icon who had many stages, many amazing moments in her career," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. "Very sad to hear the news. I was a huge fan of Tina Turner. As you can see from my reaction, that is the first I'm hearing of it. And it is a massive loss, massive loss to the communities that that loved her, certainly to the music industry."

Jean-Pierre added that Turner's music "will continue to live on" and expressed condolences for her family and friends.

President Joe Biden has expressed his love previously for Turner's song "The Best," and included it on a summer listening list in 2016.

In an interview in 2020, he said “Simply the Best” was his favorite backstage or walkout song and that it reminds him of his wife Jill.

3:27 p.m. ET, May 24, 2023

How Tina Turner overcame an abusive marriage to become one of the most popular artists of all time

From CNN's Lisa Respers France

Ike Turner and Tina Turner at Heathrow Airport in London, UK on October 27, 1975.
Ike Turner and Tina Turner at Heathrow Airport in London, UK on October 27, 1975. Frederick R. Bunt/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

As Tina Turner has stated in her autobiography and in interviews, physical abuse from her husband Ike Turner began almost from the start of their marriage in 1962.

Thin-skinned and mercurial, Ike Turner would fly into fits of rage at the slightest provocation, she said, adding that he would hit her with whatever was available – coat hangers, telephones, a wooden shoe stretcher, his fists.

Often, she said, he’d even beat her before they went onstage.

“He’d hit me in the ribs, and then always try to give me a black eye. He wanted his abuse to be seen. That was the shameful part,” Turner said in a 2005 interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Tina sang lead on most of their songs with the help of female backup singers, while her husband remained in the background, usually on guitar. Their musical partnership yielded a string of R&B hits, including “A Fool In Love,” “Nutbush City Limits” and “Proud Mary,” their 1971 cover of a Creedence Clearwater Revival song, which reached No. 4 on the pop charts and won them a Grammy.

But offstage their marriage remained tumultuous, fueled in part by Ike Turner’s cocaine addiction.

“Another night we had a fight in the dressing room, and when I went onstage, my face was swollen,” she told Winfrey. “I think my nose was broken because blood was gushing into my mouth when I sang. Before, I’d been able to hide under makeup. But you can’t hide swelling.”

She stuck with Ike Turner for more than a decade, terrified of his temper and determined not to abandon him like others had.

But things came to a head in July 1976 when they flew to Dallas for a show. Turner wrote in her book that after a flight on the airplane, her husband began hitting her in a car on the way to their hotel. While he slept, she slipped out of their room, carrying only a Mobil credit card and 36 cents – “a quarter, a dime and a penny.”

She fled across a busy highway to a motel, where a sympathetic clerk saw her bloodied face and gave her a room. She then called a lawyer she knew, who arranged for a friend to pick her up and put her on an airplane back to Los Angeles.

“After my plane landed in California, my heart was in my ears. I was afraid Ike would be there because when I’d left once before, he tracked me down on a bus…” she told Oprah. “So when I got off that plane, I ran like mad. I said to myself, ‘If he’s here, I’m going to scream for the police. And I had one chant in my head: ‘I will die before I go back.’”
3:34 p.m. ET, May 24, 2023

Tina Turner: A look back at the life of the "Queen of Rock and Roll"

From CNN's Lisa Respers France

DENIZE alain/Sygma via Getty Images
DENIZE alain/Sygma via Getty Images

Tina Turner was a dynamic rock and soul singer who rose from humble beginnings and overcame a notoriously abusive marriage to become one of the most popular female artists of all time.

She was born Anna Mae Bullock in 1939 to poor sharecroppers near Nutbush, Tennessee, a rural community north of Memphis that she later made famous in her autobiographical song, “Nutbush City Limits.” She spent her early years living with her grandmother after her parents split.

“We weren’t in poverty. We had food on the table. We just didn’t have fancy things, like bicycles,” Turner said in a 2005 interview with Oprah Winfrey.

“We were church people, so on Easter, we got all done up. I was very innocent and didn’t know much else. I knew the radio — B.B. King, country and western,” Turner said. “That’s about it. I didn’t know anything about being a star until the white people allowed us to come down and watch their television once a week.”

Following the death of their grandmother in the 1950s, Turner and her sister Ruby moved to St. Louis, Missouri, to live with their mother.

It was in St. Louis that she began to visit some of the local clubs and met musician Ike Turner, whose band, Kings of Rhythm, were popular in the area. He recruited her at age 17 to join his band as a singer.

“Ike had to come to the house and ask Ma if it was OK for me to sing with him. He knew I had the potential to be a star. We were close, like brother and sister,” Turner told Winfrey.

She began performing as Tina Turner and, in 1960, they formed the Ike & Tina Turner Revue.

Their relationship evolved and their son Ronnie was born that same year. They married in 1962 and raised four children, including two children from Ike’s previous relationships and Tina’s son, Craig, also from a previous relationship.

A riveting live performer, Turner had a string of R&B hits in the 1960s and early ’70s with her domineering and violent husband Ike Turner before she left him — fleeing their Dallas hotel room with 36 cents.

Her solo career floundered for years before she mounted a stunning comeback in 1984 with her multiplatinum album “Private Dancer” and its No. 1 hit, “What’s Love Got to Do With It.”

Before long Turner was a global superstar, commanding MTV with her spiky wigs, short skirts and famously long legs strutting across concert stages in three-inch heels.

Her talent earned her acclaim as the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” while her resiliency made her a hero to battered women everywhere. When she sang of pain and heartache in her husky, full-throated voice, every word rang true.

“For a long time I felt like I was stuck, with no way out of the unhealthy situation I was in,” she told Harvard Business Review in 2021. "But then I had a series of encounters with different people who encouraged me … And once I could see myself clearly, I began to change, opening the way to confidence and courage. It took a few years, but finally I was able to stand up for my life and start anew.”

Read more about Turner's extraordinary life.

3:16 p.m. ET, May 24, 2023

Tina Turner, resilient singer hailed as the "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll," dies at 83

From CNN's Lisa Respers France and Brandon Griggs

Tina Turner performs at Shoreline Amphitheatre on May 23, 1997 in Mountain View California. 
Tina Turner performs at Shoreline Amphitheatre on May 23, 1997 in Mountain View California.  Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Tina Turner, the dynamic rock and soul singer who rose from humble beginnings and overcame a notoriously abusive marriage to become one of the most popular female artists of all time, has died, according to a post on her verified Facebook account. She was 83.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Tina Turner. With her music and her boundless passion for life, she enchanted millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow. Today we say goodbye to a dear friend who leaves us all her greatest work: her music. All our heartfelt compassion goes out to her family. Tina, we will miss you dearly," the statement read.

CNN has reached out to representatives for Turner for further comment.

3:13 p.m. ET, May 24, 2023

Tina Turner was honored last year with a Barbie doll inspired by "What’s Love Got to Do With It"

From CNN's Zoe Sottile

A Barbie doll in the likeness of musician Tina Turner is in front of the Christopher Street Station in Manhattan on October 17, 2022.
A Barbie doll in the likeness of musician Tina Turner is in front of the Christopher Street Station in Manhattan on October 17, 2022. Ted Shaffrey/AP

In 2022, Tina Turner was immortalized with a Barbie doll in her honor.

The doll was inspired by Turner’s Grammy-winning hit, “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” The Barbie depicts Turner’s outfit from the song’s music video, wearing a black mini dress, denim jacket and drop earrings, along with her famous hairstyle.

It was designed to celebrate the singer’s “unmatched career,” according to an Instagram post from the official Barbie account.

“What’s Love Got to Do With It” was released in 1984. The song, taken from Turner’s fifth solo album, received three awards at the 1985 Grammys and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2012.

3:07 p.m. ET, May 24, 2023

Tina Turner sold rights to her music catalog to music publishing company BMG in 2021

From CNN's Amy Woodyatt

In 2021, Tina Turner sold the rights to her music catalog spanning six decades — including songs “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and “The Best” — to music publishing company BMG.

The legendary singer also sold the artist’s share of her recordings, her music publishing writer’s share, neighboring rights and name, image and likeness as part of the deal, according to BMG, which did not disclose financial terms.

Industry experts estimated the deal was worth more than $50 million, specialist publication Music Business Worldwide reported.

“Tina Turner’s musical journey has inspired hundreds of millions of people around the world and continues to reach new audiences. We are honored to take on the job of managing Tina Turner’s musical and commercial interests,” BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said in a statement. “It is a responsibility we take seriously and will pursue diligently.”

Turner was the first Black artist and the first female artist to feature on the cover of Rolling Stone, BMG said. Her solo works include 10 studio albums, two live albums, two soundtracks and five compilations, which in total have sold more than 100 million records.

“Like any artist, the protection of my life’s work, my musical inheritance, is something personal,” Turner had said in a statement. “I am confident that with BMG and Warner Music my work is in professional and reliable hands.”