Tina Turner was not in good health leading up to her death.
In a heartbreaking announcement Wednesday, reps for the iconic “Queen of Rock’n Roll” shared that she had tragically passed away at 83 years old after a battle with “a long illness.” While no specific details were provided as to what that mystery illness could be, the Proud Mary singer had been vocal about her poor kidney health in the past, sharing just two months ago that she was in “great danger” because of it.
In a March Instagram post, the What’s Love Got To Do With It singer got real about her organ’s health for International World Kidney Day. She shared at the time:
“Today is International World Kidney Day. Why is it important? Because kidneys fail without pain. And that’s why I’m telling you today: Show your kidneys love! They deserve it. 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.”
She then directed followers to visit the Show Your Kidneys Love website, which she partnered with to “campaign for kidney health,” where she provided more context for her own personal struggle, and the extreme measures that had been taken to treat her. She shared:
“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.”
Her condition’s gravity didn’t really click until over 20 years later when she suffered a stroke because of her higher-than-normal blood pressure:
“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. I tried to learn more about these organs’ function and meaning. Most people probably don’t even know where their kidneys are located and what they are for until their health is at stake.”
To help her get back to a stable state, Tina’s doctors prescribed her medication to treat her hypertension, which made things better — until they didn’t. The late icon shared she felt the pills made her feel “even worse,” citing a loss of clear mindedness and energy. So, through the recommendation of a friend, she visited a homeopathic doctor in France, who replaced her “conventional medication” with a more natural one. But when a routine check-up with her conventional doctor came, she realized what a grave mistake it had been to make the decision without consulting her established care team first. She explained:
“Thanks to my naivety I had ended up at the point where it was about life or death. At first, 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.”
The GoldenEye singer continued:
“If I had had any idea about the risk I was taking I would never have taken any chance on alternative medicine. The doctors made it very clear that the consequences of my decision were irreversible. My kidney function had reached its all-time low.”
So, more drastic measures had to be taken. The trailblazing artist shared:
“In order to survive, I had to start dialysis. It was my only option, but it was depressing to be connected to a machine for hours. For the next nine months, all my life was about dialysis. I realized that the struggle for healing is always also a struggle for accurate information. For example, I had not been aware that chronic kidney failure is called ‘silent killer’ because symptoms do not become noticeable until 80 percent of renal tissue is lost. As it happened to me, hypertension is one of the most frequent causes of kidney failure.”
Luckily, her beloved husband, Erwin Bach, was ready to do anything to try and ensure his darling’s survival:
“I was lucky that Erwin offered to donate one of his kidneys to me. It was the first step to kidney transplantation, a very complex procedure. 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 a transplantation. Every so often this required more hospital admissions. I kept feeling nauseous and dizzy, forgot things, and was scared a lot.”
Fast forward to the time of her post in March of this year, the Steamy Windows artist revealed she was still struggling from her condition, but that she was making sure to follow her “doctor’s orders.” She concluded:
“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.”
While there’s still no word on what specific “illness” caused her death, Tina clearly wanted to instill in her fans how crucial good kidney health and blood pressure are. Let’s honor her by doing what we can to protect ourselves.
Rest in peace, Tina. Share your thoughts in the comments down below.
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