Her 59-year-old son, Craig died in July 2018 of a self inflicted gunshot wound.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on September 17, 2020. It has since been updated.
When a mother loses her child, it is the most difficult thing that she's ever dealt with. When the news finally hits her, both her emotional and mental strength are at their lowest.
When late legendary singer Tina Turner lost her oldest son, she was not only heartbroken but it was almost like she lost a part of her.TMZ reported back in July 2018 that Tina's son, Craig Raymond Turner, died in his home in Studio City, California by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The 59-year-old was the son of Tina and saxophonist Raymond Hill who was a member of Ike Turner's band Kings of Rhythm. At 18, the singer gave birth to Craig when she was still with Hill. Soon the pair drifted apart and Ike came into the picture. Tina and Ike welcomed a son Ronnie Turner in 1960 and two years after their marriage, Ike adopted Craig, reported Today.
The singer's marriage to Ike wasn't the happiest as she detailed in her 1986 memoir, I, Tina, that she was suffering from severe physical abuse during her marriage. The book was later turned into a movie What's Love Got To Do With It (1993). After 14 years of enduring torment at the hands of Ike, Tina finally decided to leave him and the couple got divorced in 1978.
During all of this even though Tina walked out free, there was one person who was even more affected by Ike's abuse - Craig. While talking to Oprah in 2005, Tina revealed that her boy had always been "a very emotional kid" who struggled with being witness to his mother's distress.
She recalled, “He’d always look down in sadness. One day when Ike was fighting me, Craig knocked on the door and said, ‘Mother, are you all right?’ I thought, ‘Oh, please, don’t beat me at home.’ I didn’t want my children to hear.”
Even though she left Ike, it's possible that the memories of the torture his mother suffered while in the marriage were still embedded in Craig's head. The personal struggle he went through later on just intensified his sadness and made him decide on ending his life.
Just weeks after Tina lost her son, she bid Craig a heartfelt goodbye. Posting a picture on Twitter where she can be seen dropping a single rose into the water, she penned, "My saddest moment as a mother. On Thursday, July 19, 2018, I said my final goodbye to my son, Craig Raymond Turner, when I gathered with family and friends to scatter his ashes off the coast of California. He was fifty-nine when he died so tragically, but he will always be my baby." Her German music producer husband, Rewin Bach can also be seen standing with his arms around Turner.
My saddest moment as a mother. On Thursday, July 19 2018, I said my final goodbye to my son, Craig Raymond Turner, when I gathered with family and friends to scatter his ashes off the coast of California. He was fifty-nine when he died so tragically, but he will always be my baby pic.twitter.com/XzZQCdz8tl— TinaTurner (@LoveTinaTurner) July 27, 2018
While talking to Oprah about his death she revealed that she was initially in denial that she had lost her son. "At first I didn't believe it, because not long ago, Craig told me, 'Mother, I'm really happy now.' He had a new woman in his life, and he'd just redecorated his apartment," she recalled.
She continued, "But during our last talk, he said, 'I just want to hear your voice and that laugh.' He had never said something like that. I think that was his goodbye to me, but I didn't realize it at the time."
Back in 2018, she spoke about how Buddhism was helping her overcome the grief on Oprah. "According to Buddhism, you come back to earth and do life again until you get it right. I believe his next life will be easier. I think he's in a good place."
A year after her son's death, once again Tina opened up to CBS News about how she dealt with Craig's sudden death and said, “I think Craig was lonely, that’s what I think really got him more than anything else. I have pictures all around of him smiling." Echoing what she said on Oprah, she repeated, "I think I’m sensing that he’s in a good place. I really do.”
Tina Turner passed away peacefully on May 24, 2023. She was 83.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by (L) Miguel Villagran ; (R) Michael Ochs Archives