Tina Turner was known for a lot of things. Her energy. That smile. The famous legs and unbridled dancing. But there’s a lot off the stage that you may not have known about the Queen of Rock & Roll. For starters, a lot of us didn’t even know that she was sick. At least not “end of life” level sick.

Tina Turner Battled Health Issues For A Long Time

In fact, today.com reported that a “long illness” was the cause of Turner’s death. Which long illness they were referring to remains unknown. Turner had a stroke back in 2013 at the age of 74. And she was very open back in 2016 when she was battling intestinal cancer. She also had to have a transplant in 2017 due to kidney failure at the age of 78.

And even before that Tina Turner was dealing with high blood pressure. The condition ran in her family, so Turner wasn’t surprised she also had to deal with it. But the condition was a huge contributor to her kidney failure and eventual transplant. Turner also reported that the chronic high blood pressure damaged her heart.

A Little Background, For The Youngsters

Before Tina Turner was a solo artist, she performed with Ike Turner in his band Kings of Rhythm. When she first saw Ike Turner on stage, Tina Turner was quite mesmerized with his guitar-playing talent, and asked to sing with them. He blew her off, so Tina took matters into her own hands. She grabbed a microphone during an intermission so Ike had to hear her sing.

As brazen as that might seem, it worked. Tina Turner became a featured singer with the band after that night. The world has adored her as a solo artist. On stage, she was all smiles. But a lot happened behind that smile that wasn’t always public information.

Here are a few things you might not know about the life of Tina Turner.

  • She Wasn't Born Tina

    SYDNEY - NOVEMBER 1993 : TINA TURNER IN SYDNEY.(Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images)

    Patrick Riviere / Staff via Getty Images

    Tina Turner‘s legal name was Anna Mae Bullock. She was born under that name on November 26, 1939 in Brownsville, Tennessee.

  • She Grew Up Believing She Was Unwanted

    PARIS - JULY 03: Singer Tina Turner poses in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace before attending a ceremony at the president's official residence for honorees of France's most prestigious Legion D'Honneur award on July 3, 2008 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

    Pascal Le Segretain / Staff via Getty Images

    Because of the domestic abuse in the home, Tina‘s mother Zelma planned to leave Tina‘s father. When she found out she was pregnant with Tina, she stayed. In her memoir, Tina Turner said she didn’t believe her mother ever wanted to have her because it kept her stuck in the abusive relationship. And even after Turner became a superstar, her mother was still cold and unloving.

  • She Started As A Part Of A Famous Duet

    Many in the younger generation may only know about the toxic relationship when they hear the names Ike and Tina Turner. But the two made waves in music, long before they were headline news for other reasons.

  • Her Stage Name Was A Legal Ploy By Ike Turner

    American pop-soul husband and wife duo Ike and Tina Turner.    (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

    Evening Standard / Stringer via Getty Images

    When the owner of a record label suggested making Tina the star of the duo’s show, Ike renamed her Tina Turner and then trademarked the name. He did this in case she decided she wanted to leave the act. Ike figured he could replace her with another woman and use the same name.

  • Her Stage Name Was Inspired By The Queen Of The Jungle

    Singer Tina Turner wearing a fur coat as she poses next to a fountain on the eve of her first solo performance in Britain, at the Inn on the Park Hotel in London, February 10th 1978. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

    Keystone / Stringer via Getty Images

    When Ike Turner needed to rename his star, he was inspired by Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. He used “Tina” because it rhymed with Sheena.

  • She Was The First Black Woman On The Cover Of Rolling Stone Magazine

    American pop singer Tina Turner performing on stage at the Hammersmith Odeon, her first solo concert in London since splitting up with her partner, Ike Turner. (Photo by Gary Merrin/Getty Images)

    Gary Merrin / Stringer via Getty Images

    On November 25, 1967, Tina Turner appeared on the second cover of Rolling Stone Magazine. Which made her both the first black artist and the first woman to do so. She graced it alone again in 1969, and then with Ike in 1971. After her comeback and debut as a solo artist, she made a statement about her new independence with her solo cover photo in 1984. And, of course, she’s been on the cover several times since, both alone and with other artists.

  • She Had PTSD From Her Relationship With Ike

    American musician Ike Turner (1931 - 2007) and American singer-songwriter Tina Turner at Heathrow Airport, London, UK, 27th October 1975. (Photo by Frederick R. Bunt/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

    Frederick R. Bunt / Stringer via Getty Images

    Tina Turner experienced a lot of domestic violence during her relationship with Ike Turner, as documented in her book, I, Tina as well as her biopic starring Angela Bassett. Years later, she was still having bad dreams about her experience, Bach said in an interview for the documentary, Tina. (nypost.com).

  • She Attempted Suicide To Get Away From Ike

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - MAY 14: Tina Turner looks on during the presentation of the music project 'Beyond - Three Voices For Peace' on May 14, 2009 in Zurich, Switzerland. The CD contains a spiritual message by Tina Turner. (Photo by Miguel Villagran/Getty Images)

    Miguel Villagran / Staff via Getty Images

    Turner‘s relationship with Ike Turner was so bad that she thought the only way out was suicide. She overdosed on sleeping pills in 1968, but it didn’t kill her. She woke up from her attempt disappointed she was still alive. But she had a revelation then as well that she was meant to live for a reason. She never tried it again, and eventually left Ike.

  • She Gave Up Her American Citizenship

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 09: U.S. singer Tina Turner holds the Swiss award in the category show during the Swiss-Award 2009 award ceremony at Hallenstadion on January 9, 2010 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Miguel Villagran/Getty Images)

    Miguel Villagran / Staff via Getty Images

    In an interview with Larry King in 1997, Tina Turner announced she was giving up her American citizenship and becoming a citizen of Switzerland. Her reasoning included the fact that her then boyfriend, Erwin Bach, lived there. And she said her music was far more successful in Europe than in the states. She lived in Switzerland with Bach until her death last month.

  • Her Husband Donated A Kidney To Her

    MILAN, ITALY - APRIL 30: Tina Turner and Erwin Bach attend the Giorgio Armani 40th Anniversary Silos Opening And Cocktail Reception on April 30, 2015 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images for Giorgio Armani)

    Jacopo M. Raule / Stringer via Getty Images

    Tina Turner‘s chronic high blood pressure contributed to her kidney failure. After the stroke she suffered in 2013, her doctor reported her kidney only having 35% of its functionality. After undergoing dialysis, Turner underwent a transplant. Her replacement kidney was donated by her then husband, Erwin Bach.

  • She Considered Assisted Suicide

    BERLIN - FEBRUARY 9: Tina Turner smiles after receiving her award at the "Goldene Kamera" Awards at the Axel Springer House on February 9, 2005 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

    Sean Gallup / Staff via Getty Images

    Before Tina Turner had her kidney transplant, she was in so much pain that she considered assisted suicide. It is legal in Switzerland, where she had full citizenship. She went as far as to join the assisted-suicide organization called Exit when the toxins in her body became too much to bear.

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