‘Raw, powerful, unstoppable’: Tributes pour in for Tina Turner

Tina Turner holds up a Grammy Award in Los Angeles on February 27, 1985 [File: Nick Ut/ AP]

Nicknamed the ‘Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll’, Tina Turner left an abusive relationship to become one of the top recording artists of all time.

Musicians, actors, athletes and world leaders have taken to social media to pay tribute to the late superstar Tina Turner.

The United States-born singer, who left an abusive relationship to become one of the top recording artists of all time, died on Wednesday at her home in Kusnacht, near Zurich in Switzerland. She was 83.


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Nicknamed the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, Turner was one of the world’s most popular entertainers. She was known for a core of pop, rock and rhythm and blues favourites Proud Mary, Nutbush City Limits, River Deep, Mountain High and the hits she had in the 80s – among them What’s Love Got to Do with It, We Don’t Need Another Hero and a cover of Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together.

Turner won six of her eight Grammy Awards in the 1980s. Her 1988 show in Rio de Janeiro drew 180,000 people, which remains one of the largest concert audiences for any single performer.

Few stars travelled so far and overcame so much.

Physically battered, emotionally devastated and financially ruined by her 20-year relationship with guitarist Ike Turner, she became a superstar on her own in her 40s, at a time when most of her peers were on their way down, and she remained a top concert draw for years after.

US President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, musicians Mick Jagger, Elton John and Beyonce were among those paying tribute.

Here’s a roundup of their responses:

“I’m so saddened by the passing of my wonderful friend Tina Turner. She was truly an enormously talented performer and singer. She was inspiring, warm, funny and generous. She helped me so much when I was young and I will never forget her,” Jagger said on Twitter.

Turner performed with Jagger during a show in 1985 and toured with the band in the 60s.

“We have lost one of the word’s most exciting and electric performers. A total legend on record and on stage. She was untouchable. Condolences to Erwin and her family. The saddest news,” Elton John said on Instagram.

“How do we say farewell to a woman who owned her pain and trauma and used it as a means to help change the world? Through her courage in telling her story, her commitment to stay the course in her life, no matter the sacrifice, and her determination to carve out a space in rock and roll for herself and for others who look like her, Tina Turner showed others who lived in fear what a beautiful future filled with love, compassion, and freedom should look like,” said actress Angela Bassett, who played Turner in the 1993 film What’s Love Got to Do With It.

“Her final words to me – for me – were ‘You never mimicked me. Instead, you reached deep into your soul, found your inner Tina, and showed her to the world.’ I shall hold these words close to my heart for the rest of my days,” Basset added.

“In addition to being a once-in-a-generation talent that changed American music forever, Tina’s personal strength was remarkable. Overcoming adversity, and even abuse, she built a career for the ages and a life and legacy that were entirely hers,” Biden said in a statement.


“Tina Turner was raw. She was powerful. She was unstoppable. And she was unapologetically herself – speaking and singing her truth through joy and pain; triumph and tragedy. Today we join fans around the world in honoring the Queen of Rock and Roll, and a star whose light will never fade,” Obama wrote on Twitter.


Oprah Winfrey called Turner “simply the best” in a post on Instagram.

“She is our forever goddess of rock ‘n’ roll who contained a magnitude of inner strength that grew throughout her life. She was a role model not only for me but for the world. She encouraged a part of me I didn’t know existed,” Winfrey wrote.

“Once she claimed her freedom from years of domestic abuse, her life became a clarion call for triumph… I’m a better woman, a better human because her life touched mine,” Winfrey added.


“My beloved queen, I love endlessly,” Beyonce wrote on her website.

“I am so grateful for your inspiration, and all the ways you have paved the way. You are strength and resilience. You are the epitome of power and passion. We are all so fortunate to have witnessed your kindness and beautiful spirit that will forever remain. Thank you for all you have done,” the musician added.

The two women performed Proud Mary together at the 50th Grammy Awards in 2008.

“Rest in peace to one of my favorite artists of all time, the legendary queen of rock n’ roll Tina Turner. I’ve seen her many many times and hands down, she gave one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. She always gave you your moneys worth,” said American basketball legend Magic Johnson, who posted a photo with him and Turner on Twitter.


“Cultural Icon down. Safe Journey Anna Mae Bullock . You were HERE,” singer Erykah Badu wrote on Instagram.

“What a woman, what a life, what a warrior!!! The day I met you Ms Tina, I couldn’t believe I was standing in the presence of your greatness!!,” singer Alicia Keys wrote on Instagram.

“I got to celebrate and thank you for all the love you’ve poured out around u. The songs you sang gave us courage to step out and be our full selves. You are a fierce force as a woman and a performer! All of these things have been beacons of light for not only me, but all the people around the world finding ourselves and our fearlessness, through our vulnerability!!”, Keys added.

“Truest rocker. Greatest performer. Most profoundly sexy woman. What a dynamo, what a story, what a heroine. Always an energy inspiration for me, always tapping the source. Tina forever. Man. Always been in awe of her and the infinite power,” Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea said on Instagram.

Canadian singer Bryan Adams, who paired with Turner on the 1985 single It’s Only Love, said, “the world just lost one hell of a powerhouse of a woman”.

(Al Jazeera)


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