Tina Turner, who will be remembered for her electrifying performances, looked frail during her last days as she was suffering from multiple ailments and even considered assisted suicide till her husband Erwin Back made a huge sacrifice to keep her alive by donating his kidney. One of her potential last photos shows her extremely frail as she needed help to walk.
The Tennessee-born 83-year-old singer who won multiple Grammy Awards died at her home in Switzerland’s Zurich region, according to her publicist, who confirmed her death on Wednesday in a social media post. Turner died “after a long illness in her home,” her longtime publicist Bernard Doherty said.
Battling Several Ailments
She was last spotted in public in November 2019 when she was unable to stand alone and was at the Broadway premiere of the musical that changed her life. In the majority of photos from the occasion, she is seen sitting down.
Her husband, Erwin Bach, and Oprah Winfrey assisted her as she walked the red carpet.
The songstress’s final Instagram post saw her mark the fifth anniversary of Tina the Musical just four weeks before her death.
In March 2021, Turner was spotted in one of her final public images as she watched the HBO documentary’s world debut. The photo was tweeted by Turner herself and she looked considerably frail and unwell.
The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll didn’t post many new photos of herself, but she did give fans a rare glance as she posed in front of a large TV and expressed her enthusiasm for her own documentary.
“Only 5 days left! This Saturday, the documentary ‘TINA’ will be released,” she wrote on Twitter.
“I am so excited to share this movie with you â seeing the concert scenes made me relive some of the proudest moments of my life. I simply had to sing along and dance around my living room!”
The world saw Turner for the last time when the singer was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame seven months later.
Turner could not manage to travel to Cleveland, Ohio, for the event but recorded a video.
“If they’re still giving me awards at 81, I must have done something right,” Turner said through a pre-recorded video message, broadcast on October 30, 2021.
“I’m very happy to have this.”
A day later, On October 31, she posted a photo of hers receiving the award.
“As you can surely tell from my beaming smile: I am thrilled to now be officially inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist,’ she captioned the photo.
“What an honor! I am grateful to so many beloved people who believed in me and stood by me on my journey here â especially you, my fans. Keep on rocking!”
Physical Pain and True Love
Turner had been battling health issues for several years despite appearing healthy in the last video. She said she never realized she could do anything about her high blood pressure diagnosis, which came in 1978.
“I can’t remember ever getting an explanation about what high blood pressure means or how it affects the body,’ she told the European Health Kidney Alliance, in March this year.
“I considered high blood pressure my normal. Hence, I didn’t really try to control it.”
Turner suffered a stroke in 2009 after her ailment went untreated. She suffered a second stroke in 2013, days after she wed her partner of almost 30 years, German music producer Erwin Bach.
“I put myself in great danger because I refused to face the reality that I needed daily, lifelong therapy with medication,” she said.
“I believed for far too long that my body was an untouchable and indestructible bastion.”
According to her memoir, Turner considered assisted suicide when she was dealing with her difficult health issues and even joined Exit, a non-profit organization that supports the legalization of assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia.
Her homeopathic treatments made her situation worse and she eventually developed complete kidney failure since she had severe side effects from her treatment.
“The consequences of my ignorance ended up being a matter of life and death,” she wrote in her 2018 memoir My Love Story.
“At this terrible moment of guilt and self-recrimination, I learned something wonderful about Erwin. He never reproached me for my mistake. Instead, he was loyal, kind and understanding â and determined to help me get through all this alive,” Turner said.
“At the time, Switzerland’s organ-donor rate was one of the lowest in Europe â which meant that, at 75, I’d probably never rise to the top of the waiting list.
“I began to think about death. If my kidneys were going, and it was time for me to die, I could accept that. It was OK. When it’s time, it’s really time. I didn’t mind the thought of dying, but I was concerned about how I would go.
“One of the benefits of living in Switzerland is that assisted suicide is legal, though the patient has to inject the lethal drug herself.
“I think that’s when the idea of my death became a reality for Erwin. He was very emotional about not wanting to lose me, not wanting me to leave.”
Bach told her he didn’t want another lady or another life, but in order to save her life, he ended up giving her his own kidney in April 2017. The procedure was mainly successful.