Tina Turner has led a truly amazing life, and excerpts from her upcoming memoir unveil previously unknown facts about the singer of hits such as “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and “Proud Mary”.
In serialized excerpts published in the Daily Mail, the 78-year-old superstar shares the shocking revelation that she was preparing to die as her kidneys began to fail during her recuperation from a successful battle with intestinal cancer.
In an excerpt from her book, My Love Story, Turner writes that by December 2016 her kidneys were at 20 per cent and “plunging rapidly,” and she had been preparing for the inevitable by investigating assisted suicide.
“I faced two choices: either regular dialysis or a kidney transplant,” she writes. “Only the transplant would give me a good chance of a near-normal life. But the chances of getting a donor kidney were remote.”
Dialysis, she writes, “wasn’t my idea of life. But the toxins in my body had started taking over. I couldn’t eat. I was surviving but not living. I began to think about death… If my kidneys were going, and it was time for me to die, I could accept that. It was OK. When it’s time, it’s really time.”
When her husband — 62-year-old German music executive Erwin Bach — found out she had contacted Exit, a group that helps with assisted suicide, he took action.
“He said he didn’t want another woman, or another life,” she adds. “Then he shocked me. He said he wanted to give me one of his kidneys.”
Tests were performed and Bach’s kidney was deemed to be a match.
“The best moment was when Erwin came rolling into my room in his wheelchair,” writes Turner of seeing her husband after the surgery.
“He somehow managed to look good, even handsome, as he greeted me with an energetic: ‘Hi, darling!’ I was so emotional — happy, overwhelmed and relieved that we’d come through this alive.”
However, Turner points out that although the surgery was a success, she’s not entirely out of the woods.
“My body keeps trying to reject the new kidney, which is not uncommon after a transplant,” she notes. “This means I have to take strong doses of immunosuppressants to weaken my antibodies and prevent them from attacking an organ they don’t recognize.”
Adding that the treatment causes such side effects a dizziness, forgetfulness and anxiety, Turner remains thankful for receiving a new lease on life. “I know that my medical adventure is far from over. After a transplant, it seems that there’s always another test, another doctor’s appointment or biopsy to get through,” she writes.
“But I’m still here. We’re both still here, closer than we ever imagined — and that’s cause for celebration.”