Oprah Winfrey says Tina Turner told her she was ‘ready to go’ in 2019

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Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King knew the end was near for Tina Turner, but it still didn’t prepare them for the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s death on Wednesday.

While on Thursday’s episode of CBS Mornings, Winfrey and King, who were on the show from Italy, recalled learning the news of Turner’s passing. She was 83

“We keep hearing that song, ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It,’ when it comes to Tina Turner. I don’t know anybody who didn’t love her. We’ve all known Tina wasn’t doing well, but still, when you get the news, it was a shock,” said King.

Winfrey added, “It was a blow, it was a blow. I was certainly aware that she was ill but I had seen her in 2019 and gone to visit her in the hospital and she had said to me then that she was actually ready to go, meaning, ready to leave the planet. I expected then that was going to be the last time that I saw her.”

Turner dealt with numerous health issues – including kidney failure, intestinal cancer, and strokes – and it was her husband, Erwin Bach, who played a vital role in her journey.

“I just have to say that her husband, Erwin Bach, is the most extraordinary person I’ve ever known,” said Winfrey. “I mean, he literally willed her to live and she’s been through, you know, one health crisis after another.”

“She just kept coming back,” King added.

In 2016, Turner’s kidneys started to fail and Bach stepped in and donated his own kidney to save Turner.

King said that she sees this moment as a chance to be “celebrating” Turner’s life, and noted that she and Winfrey have been dancing and playing her songs since hearing the news.

Winfrey also opened up about being a fan-turned-friend to Turner. In 1996 and 1997, Winfrey and The Oprah Winfrey Show followed Turner’s Wildest Dreams tour around the country. Winfrey even had a wig styled after the music legend, and once told fans that she “wouldn’t take the wig off,” even to go to sleep.

“I said to my producers then, ‘We’re going to follow her wherever she’s going.’ I became the world’s biggest groupie, dragging the entire show from city to city following Tina, making people’s wildest dreams come true,” recalled Winfrey.

During an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2013, Turner spoke about the benefits of growing older.

“I’ve done it,” Turner, who was 73 at the time of the interview, exclaimed. “…You can get emotional when you get to this stage and can say, ‘Even when it’s time to leave and go to another planet, I’m excited about that because I’m curious.'”

She clarified, “I’m not excited to die, but I don’t regret it when it’s time for me. I’ve done what I came here to do. Now is pleasure. I’ve got great friends, I have a great man in my life, now I have a great husband, and I’m happy.”

The iconic singer last stepped out in public in November 2019 to attend the opening of the Broadway bio-musical, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York City, with Winfrey by her side.

“This musical is my life, but it’s like poison that turned into medicine,” the singer told the crowd during her surprise curtain call appearance. “I can never be as happy as I am now.”

On Wednesday, Winfrey posted a reflective tribute to the late singer.

“I started out as a fan of Tina Turner, then a full-on groupie, following her from show to show around the country, and then, eventually, we became real friends,” she wrote on Instagram, pairing the caption with a series of photos of the two women together. “She is our forever goddess of rock ‘n’ roll who contained a magnitude of inner strength that grew throughout her life. She was a role model not only for me but for the world. She encouraged a part of me I didn’t know existed.”


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