Over the years, Turner and Winfrey developed a close friendship, their connection most memorably on display back in 2004 when the “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” singer surprised the TV host during her 50th birthday celebration episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show. (And who could forget when the two of them performed on tour together? Wow, what a moment!) In a post to Instagram on Wednesday, Winfrey reflected on their relationship, beautifully sharing how she became “a better woman, a better human because her life touched mine.”
“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,” the post began. “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.”
She continued: “Once she claimed her freedom from years of domestic abuse, her life became a clarion call for triumph. I’m grateful for her courage, for showing us what victory looks like wearing Manolo’s and a leather miniskirt. She once shared with me that when her time came to leave this earth, she would not be afraid, but excited and curious. Because she had learned how to LIVE surrounded by her beloved husband, Erwin, and friends. I am a better woman, a better human because her life touched mine. She was indeed simply the best.”
Likewise, Black Panther star Angela Bassett also took the time to commemorate Turner’s illustrious life and legacy. Bassett earned an Oscar nomination for her role as the music legend in the 1993 biopic, What’s Love Got to Do With It? Most recently, the “Simply the Best” singer penned celebratory words for Bassett for this year’s TIME100 list back in April.
“How do we say farewell to a woman who owned her pain and trauma and used it as a means to help change the world?” Bassett wrote in a post to Instagram. “Through her courage in telling her story, her commitment to stay the course in her life, no matter the sacrifice, and her determination to carve out a space in rock and roll for herself and for others who look like her, Tina Turner showed others who lived in fear what a beautiful future filled with love, compassion, and freedom should look like.”
She continued: “Her final words to me—for me—were ‘You never mimicked me. Instead, you reached deep into your soul, found your inner Tina, and showed her to the world.’ I shall hold these words close to my heart for the rest of my days. I am honored to have known Tina Turner. I am humbled to have helped show her to the world. So on today, while we mourn the loss of this iconic voice and presence, she gave us more than we could have ever asked.”
“She gave us her whole self. And Tina Turner is a gift that that will always be “simply the best.” Angels sing thee to thy rest…Queen,” she concluded.
As previously reported by The Root, Turner died at age 83 on Wednesday, May 24 after battling a long illness. She passed away in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland.