NEW YORK – Rock and soul singers, civil rights activists and political leaders mourned Tina Turner on Wednesday as a trail-blazing artiste whose music and life epitomised resilience, determination, heart and the power to not only survive, but also thrive, over five decades in the music industry.
“Tina would have so much energy during her performances and was a true entertainer,” Magic Johnson, former star of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, wrote on Twitter.
“She created the blueprint for other great entertainers like Janet Jackson and Beyonce, and her legacy will continue on through all high-energy performing artists.”
As news spread of Turner’s death, at the age of 83 in Switzerland, many said her life story was an inspiration as she overcame abuse during her marriage to Ike Turner and emerged as a star on her own with the release of her solo album, Private Dancer, in 1984.
“This woman rose like a phoenix from the ashes of abuse, a derailed career and no money to a renaissance like I’ve never seen in entertainment,” Ms Sherrilyn Ifill, former president of the NAACP Legal Defence Fund, said on Twitter. “She became fully herself and showed us all how it’s done.”
Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones, who toured with Tina Turner in Britain in 1966 and in the United States in 1969, in a series of concerts that helped introduce her music to white audiences, was “so saddened by the passing of my wonderful friend”.
“She was truly an enormously talented performer and singer,” Jagger wrote on Instagram. “She was inspiring, warm, funny and generous. She helped me so much when I was young and I will never forget her.”
Actress Angela Bassett, who was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Turner in the 1993 film What’s Love Got To Do With It, said in a statement: “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?”
She added: “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 ‘n’ 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.
“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.’”
R&B and soul singer Aaron Neville recalled when the Neville Brothers toured Europe with Turner in 1990, selling out shows with more than 70,000 fans in attendance.
It was during that tour, he said, when he came up with the idea for his 1993 release, The Roadie Song, as he watched the crew set up stages all across Europe.
“She showed us much love and respect,” he wrote on Twitter. “I know she has a place in the heavenly band.”
Turner’s career began in the late 1950s when she was in high school in East St Louis, Illinois, and spanned half a century as she moved from singing R&B and soul into rock and pop.
She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with Ike Turner in 1991, and as a solo artiste in 2021.
She gave her final public performance in 2009 and then retired.
“Tina Turner was our voice,” Mayor Eric Adams of New York wrote on Twitter.
“She’s an icon who knocked down boundaries, shook our soul and redefined music. She overcame so much to become an icon.”
Kelly Rowland, the singer formerly of American girl group Destiny’s Child, is part of a younger generation of singers who drew inspiration from Turner. “Thank you, Queen, for giving us your all,” she wrote. “We love you.”
R&B singer Ciara wrote: “Heaven has gained an angel. Rest in paradise, Tina Turner. Thank you for the inspiration you gave us all.”
And rapper-songwriter Kid Cudi wrote that Turner was a hero to his mother, and “she was the ultimate superhero to me too”. NYTIMES