Beyonce and Oprah Winfrey lead tributes to rock queen Tina Turner


Beyonce and Oprah Winfrey are among those who have paid tribute to Tina Turner, who has died aged 83.

Turner, one of rock’s great vocalists and most charismatic performers, died after a long illness at her home near Zurich in Switzerland, according to her spokesperson.

The US-born star was known for her electric stage presence and hits including The Best, Proud Mary, Private Dancer and What’s Love Got to Do With It.

Beyonce called Turner “my beloved queen” on her website, adding: “I love you endlessly.

“I’m 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.

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“Thank you for all you have done.”

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey (L) and Kennedy Center 2005 Honoree Tina Turner walk together as they depart the gala dinner at the State Department in Washington December 3, 2005. The Kennedy Center award is given for a lifetime contribution to the arts and American culture. REUTERS/Mike Theiler
Oprah Winfrey and Tina Turner in 2005

Winfrey’s tribute on Instagram said Turner had been a “real friend” and “our forever goddess of rock ‘n’ roll who contained a magnitude of inner strength that grew throughout her life”.

She added: “Once she claimed her freedom from years of domestic abuse, her life became a clarion call for triumph.

“I’m grateful for her courage, for showing us what victory looks like wearing Manolos and a leather miniskirt.

“She once shared with me that when her time came to leave this earth, she would not be afraid, but excited and curious.

“Because she had learned how to live surrounded by her beloved husband Erwin and friends.

“I am a better woman, a better human, because her life touched mine.

“She was indeed simply the best.”

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Elton John and Tina Turner perform together at the close of the first annual "VH1 Fashion and Music Awards" ceremony in New York in 1995.
Elton John and Tina Turner in New York in 1995.
Mick Jaggar and Tina Tuner play together during a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame show in New York January 18, 1989.
Mick Jagger and Tina Tuner in New York in 1989.

Other tributes came from Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Elton John, Diana Ross, Bette Midler and Giorgio Armani.

“She was truly an enormously talented performer and singer,” said Rolling Stones frontman Jagger.

“She was inspiring, warm, funny and generous. She helped me so much when I was young and I will never forget her.”

Sir Elton posted a picture of himself with Turner and said she was “untouchable” and a “total legend on record and on stage”.

Turner found fame in the 1960s alongside ex-husband Ike Turner, with the classics River Deep, Mountain High and Nutbush City Limits among their hits.

The domestic abuse Ike subjected her to – and her struggle to break free – was documented in a 1993 film starring Angela Bassett, which won three Oscars.

Tina Turner’s most streamed songs in UK

  • 1. The Best
  • 2. What’s Love Got To Do With It?
  • 3. Proud Mary
  • 4. What’s Love Got To Do With It? (with Kygo)
  • 5. River Deep Mountain High (with Ike Turner)
  • 6. We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)
  • 7. Nutbush City Limits (with Ike Turner)
  • 8. Private Dancer
  • 9. It’s Only Love (with Bryan Adams)
  • 10. Proud Mary (with Ike Turner)

Turner’s life story was also immortalised in a popular West End show that is still running.

Her popularity waned by the end of the 1970s and she found herself mainly playing the cabaret circuit as a heritage act.

However, her career was dramatically resurrected in 1983 when a cover of Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together became a huge hit.

Turner, then in her 40s, signed a new contract with Capitol Records which led to the Private Dancer album in 1984.

The title track, as well as What’s Love Got to Do With It, and I Can’t Stand the Rain were among the album’s seven singles, and it sold more than 10 million copies.

Her best-known song – with its distinctive intro, steady build and powerful chorus – is probably The Best, released in 1989.

Tina and Ike Turner performing in 1966.  The couple had a famously violent relationship which eventually broke down after years of domestic abuse Pic: AP
Tina and Ike Turner performing in 1966. Pic: AP
Tina Turne is presented with a chocolate sculpture of one of her legs,  which she famously claimed to have insured for $3.2million. Pic: AP
Tina Turner with a chocolate sculpture of one of her legs, which she famously claimed to have insured for $3.2m. Pic: AP

There was also a foray into film alongside Mel Gibson in 1985’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, a movie that spawned another hit, We Don’t Need Another Hero.

Born Anna Mae Bullock in a segregated Tennessee hospital in November 1939, Turner became a Swiss citizen a decade ago.

Read more:
Simply The Best: Tina Turner in pictures

Tina Tuner meets the King, then Prince Charles, at a screening of the James Bond film Goldeneye, for which she sang the theme. Pic: AP
Tina Tuner meets the King, then Prince Charles. Pic: AP
Tina Turner with her husband Erwin Bach in Zurich, Switzerland in 2011
Tina Turner with her husband Erwin Bach in Zurich in 2011

She lived on a sprawling estate on Lake Zurich with her husband and former EMI record executive Erwin Bach, some 16 years her junior.

The couple met in 1985, with Turner once telling Winfrey it was love at first sight when he was sent to pick her up from an airport in Germany.

“He had the prettiest face. You could not miss it,” she said.

“It was like saying, ‘Where did he come from?’ He was really that good looking. My heart went bu-bum. It means that a soul has met. My hands were shaking.”

Tina Turner and Lionel Richie at the Grammy Awards in 1985. Pic:AP
Tina Turner and Lionel Richie at the Grammy Awards in 1985. Pic: AP

Turner had four children, two of them she adopted from Ike’s first marriage.

Her eldest son, Craig Raymond Turner, who she had when she was 18, died in an apparent suicide five years ago, and in 2022 her second son Ronnie died of cancer.

Turner previously had intestinal cancer and suffered a stroke, revealing in 2018 that her husband had donated a kidney to save her life as she contemplated assisted suicide.

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