Tina Turner’s ‘long illness’: Intestinal cancer, kidney transplant and untreated hypertension

Tina Turner’s ‘long illness’: Intestinal cancer, kidney transplant and untreated hypertension
Tina Turner dies at 83 (Eamonn M McCormack/Getty Images)

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND: Tina Turner, the rock ’n’ roll star whose life was nothing short of a tragedy, died at the age of 83 after “long illness” at her home in Switzerland. Over her music career which began in the late 1950s joining her first husband Ike Turner's band the Kings of Rhythm, Tina faced health issues including an intestinal cancer in 2016 and kidney transplant in 2017. However, the struggles dated back to 1978 when she was diagnosed with hypertension.

She shared the struggles in an interview with the European Health Kidney Alliance saying, "I have been suffering from hypertension for a long time, got diagnosed in 1978, but didn’t care much about it. I can’t remember ever getting an explanation about what high blood pressure means or how it affects the body. I considered high blood pressure my normal. Hence, I didn’t really try to control it. In 1985 a doctor gave me a prescription for pills of which I was supposed to take one a day, and that was it. I didn’t give it any more thought. After suffering a stroke in 2009 because of my poorly controlled hypertension I struggled to get back up on my feet. This is when I first learned that my kidneys didn’t work that well anymore. They had already lost thirty-five percent of their function." And added, "I may not have noticed any signs of sickness, but some of the symptoms that I blamed on the medication, like my fatigue, nausea or occasional irritability, were really signs of my kidney disease in its final stage."



Tina Turner once attempted suicide by taking 50 sleeping pills to escape abusive marriage with Ike Turner

'The world has lost a legend': Fans pay tribute to legendary singer and queen of Rock 'n' Roll Tina Turner who died at 83

Tina Turner was diagnosed with intestinal cancer

She again suffered a stroke in 2013 just three weeks after she married Erwin Bach on July 4, 2013. She explained in her 2018 memoir 'Tina Turner: My Love Story', explaining, "That's when I discovered I couldn’t stand on my own. I was too embarrassed to call for help. Legs for days and muscles of steel from dancing, but I didn't have the strength to get up. Terrified, I dragged myself over to a sofa, all the while thinking that I couldn't imagine Tina Turner paralyzed. I doubted that I would ever be able to wear high heels again, let alone dance in them.” She praised Erwin for keeping her confident and optimistic that helped her "keep calm" during her recovery. However, her health got worse again in 2016 when she was diagnosed with intestinal cancer, reports People.

'I kept feeling nauseous and dizzy'

"The consequences of my ignorance ended up being a matter of life and death. 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 — and determined to help me get through all this alive," she said. Erwin then donated his own kidney to her and the operation took place in April 2017, states People.


Recollecting the struggles after the operation, she detailed, "The months after the transplantation were marked by a never-ending up and down. From time to time, my body tried to reject the donor kidney, as it frequently happens after transplantation. Every so often, this required more hospital admissions. I kept feeling nauseous and dizzy, forgot things, and was scared a lot. These problems are still not quite resolved. I am on multiple prescriptions and take great care to follow my doctors' orders meticulously. For I know that I can trust them and their therapies."

She also opened up about her kidney disease on March 9, 2023, in honor of International Kidney Day. She wrote on Instagram, "My kidneys are victims of my not realising that my high blood pressure should have been treated with conventional medicine. I have put myself in great danger by refusing to face the reality that I need daily, lifelong therapy with medication. For far too long I believed that my body was an untouchable and indestructible bastion."



'I chose death, and I chose it honestly'

In her memoir, she wrote, “I know that my medical adventure is far from over. But I’m still here — we’re still here, closer than we ever imagined. I can look back and understand why my karma was the way it was. Good came out of bad. Joy came out of pain. And I have never been so completely happy as I am today." And further added, “I chose death, and I chose it honestly. I was unhappy when I woke up. But I never tried it again because I made an important realization, one that changed the course of my life. I came out of the darkness believing I was meant to survive. I was here for a reason."

Share this article:

 Tina Turner’s ‘long illness’: Intestinal cancer, kidney transplant and untreated hypertension