The tragic story of Tina Turner’s sons

Entertainment

“I’m still trying to find out why he did it,” said Tina Turner in 2018.

She was telling Oprah Winfrey about her son Craig’s suicide.

The rock icon was only 18 when she had Craig in 1958 with her partner, Raymond Hill, who was a saxophonist with Ike Turner’s band Kings of Rhythm.

Craig was later adopted by Ike after he and Turner married in 1962.

He was the eldest of Turner’s four children, the others being Ronnie, Turner Jr and Michael Turner.

‘I think Craig was lonely’

In 2018, Craig was found dead aged 59.

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner confirmed that Craig was found dead at his Studio City home in California from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“I think Craig was lonely, that’s what I think really got him more than anything else,” Turner told CBS News.

“I have pictures all around of him smiling, and I think I’m sensing that he’s in a good place. I really do.”

Turner described Craig as an “introverted person” and “very shy”.

He was working with a prominent company in real estate and was in a relationship.

Turner described Craig’s death as her “saddest moment as a mother”.

She tweeted at the time: “On Thursday 19 July 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 59 when he died so tragically, but he will always be my baby.”

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Tina Turner on recognition and achievements

‘I still don’t know what took him to the edge’

It was a loss that Turner felt heavily.

“I still don’t know what took him to the edge because, at that stage, he had said to me that he had never met a woman that he felt that way about,” she had told the BBC.

“He was bringing her to meet me [for] his birthday in August. He had decorated his apartment, that I bought him years ago. He had got a new job with a prominent real estate company in California, [which] he was very happy with.

“I have no idea what pulled him down, except something that followed him was loneliness. I think it was something with being alone,” she added.

She said she did notice a change in their last few conversations.

“The last few times we talked, the conversations were different, and I didn’t know that until after the suicide.”

In her memoir “My Love Story”, Turner revealed she had struggled with suicidal thoughts during her abusive relationship with Ike Turner, but said despite the darkness at the time, she survived.

“I was unhappy when I woke up,” she wrote in her memoir. “But I came out of the darkness believing I was meant to survive.”

In 2005, speaking to Oprah before Craig’s death, Turner described him as “a very emotional kid” who struggled with seeing the abuse she faced.

“He’d always look down in sadness,” Turner said.

“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.”

‘Beloved son’ Ronnie Turner

Ronnie was Turner’s youngest son and was born in October 1960.

He was also a bass player in the band Manufactured Funk.

He married French Musician Afida Turner in 2007.

Prior to his death, no specific diagnosis was revealed, but coroners later said he passed at the age of 62 after complications from colon cancer.

After his death in 2022, Turner paid tribute to her “beloved son”, and at the time, she posted a black and white image on Instagram.

“Ronnie, you left the world far too early. In sorrow, I close my eyes and think of you, my beloved son,” the singer said in the caption.

His wife Afrida also paid tribute on Instagram and said: “My husband my best friend my baby I was your mummy, your nurse your little monster.

“I did the best to the end,” she added.

“This is very very very bad I am very mad. This is a tragedy U with your brother Craig and your father Ike Turner and [Alline.] Rest in paradise. So unfair.”

Read more:
Tina Turner dies in Switzerland
The trauma and triumph of a music legend
Tina Turner in pictures

After her marriage to Ike, the Proud Mary singer adopted his two children, Ike Jr and Michael, in 1960.

Ike Jr was born in 1958 to his parents Ike and Lorraine Taylor, and according to reports, he was also a musician just like his father.

Michael was born in 1959, but has refrained from being in the spotlight.

After Turner split with Ike, she had little contact with Ike Jr and Michael.

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 08457 90 90 90 or email jo@samaritans.org in the UK. In the US call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK.

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