Tina Turner, the powerhouse vocalist unequivocally known as the â€œQueen of Rock â€˜nâ€™ Roll,â€ died on Wednesday at 83, after a long battle with an illness at her home in KÃ¼snacht, outside of Zurich, Switzerland.
â€œWith her, the world loses a music legend and a role model,â€ said Bernard Doherty, her U.K. spokesperson, in a statement.
Turner, who was born Ann Mae Bullock in Nutbush, Tennessee on November 26, 1939, rose to fame in the late â€™60s as the lead vocalist of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, a group formed alongside her husband, Ike Turner. She made her record debut with â€œA Fool in Loveâ€ in July 1960, which entered the U.S. Top 30 and led to a number of successful releases down the line. In the late â€™60s, the famed duo was working alongside rockâ€™s biggest names, including Phil Spector and the Rolling Stones; but in the â€™70s, after enduring years of spousal abuse, Tine left her husband and rode a solo, music-fueled redemption arc that led to booming success like no other before her.
â€œMy relationship with Ike was doomed the day he figured out I was going to be his moneymaker,â€ she wrote in her 2018 biography, My Love Story. â€œHe needed to control me, economically and psychologically, so I could never leave him.â€
In the â€™80s, Turner turned to music as a saving grace, and soon enough, her name regularly resided at the top of the charts, with hits including â€œWhatâ€™s Love Got To Do With It,â€ â€œPrivate Dancerâ€ and â€œThe Best.â€ Quickly, Turner became one of the eraâ€™s defining pop icons, selling more than 180 million albums worldwide, winning 12 Grammys and running sold-out global stadium tours. On her 1988 Break Every RuleÂ tour, the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer broke box office records in 13 countries and corralled a crowd of over 180,000 fans at Brazilâ€™s MaracanÃ£ Stadium. Her impact on music â€” that of yesterday, today and tomorrow â€” is limitlessly felt.
â€œI had that strange voice that most girl singers didnâ€™t have,â€ Turner said in an interview with Gayle King in 2019. â€œIn the beginning, I thought it was kind of ugly because it didnâ€™t sound like Diana Ross, but then afterward I thought, â€˜Yeah, it sounds like the guys.â€™â€
Later, her life story was told in three memoirs, a biopic, a musical and a documentary film, titled Tina, which was released in 2021. She was celebrated for creating more space for Black women in rock â€˜nâ€™ roll, lauded for her genre-shifting vocals that kept the worldâ€™s ears perked, and admired for her ability to find independent success through music, after exiting her abusive relationship.
â€œDo you realize youâ€™re a feminist hero?â€Â Larry King asked Turner in 1997. â€œIâ€™m beginning to,â€ she responded.
A private funeral ceremony will take place for family and close friends. Her representatives have not provided further comments.