Theatre-goers at the Tina Turner musical on Wednesday evening “broke down in tears” as they received news of the singer’s death during the interval.
The cast of the West End musical gathered on stage to inform the auditorium at the Aldwych Theatre in central London of the singer’s passing.
“It is with great sadness that we share the news that Tina Turner has passed away today,” an actor told the crowd.
“Words can’t express the feelings of our company, so we look at each other and we look to you, in this moment today, right now, to tell this woman’s remarkable story.”
Abi Garrido, 25, from Newcastle, told MailOnline that “you could feel the emotions in the air” during the second half of the show.
She said: “It didn’t feel real, I just broke down in tears. It was such a shock. I was sat near the front so I could see the cast and crew visibly crying, it was such a surreal feeling. I felt for them so much, I could not have done it.”
Another audience member said: “We were enjoying the first half of the show and then the news came through at the intermission.
“My son was with me and he said, ‘’you won’t believe it. Tina Turner has passed away’. It was a jaw-dropping moment.”
Known as the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Turner died at the age of 83 after a long illness at her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland.
Barack Obama, the former US president, said Turner was “raw, powerful and unstoppable”.
“She was unapologetically herself – speaking and singing her truth through joy and pain, triumph and tragedy,” he said.
“Today we join fans around the world in honouring the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and a star whose light will never fade.”
Beyonce shared a tribute to Tina Turner on her website alongside a picture of the pair’s 2008 duet at the Grammy Awards.
“My beloved queen. I love you endlessly,” she said.
Cher, the singer and actress, described her as “one of the great artists” of their generation.
“There was no other person like her. There was no other person who could come close to who she was,” she told MSNBC.
Turner, who achieved global fame with a string of soulful hits including River Deep – Mountain High, The Best and What’s Love Got to Do with It triumphed over early adversity and overcame domestic abuse, to become one of the world’s most loved singers.
Fellow singer Gloria Gaynor described Turner as an “iconic legend who paved the way for so many women in rock music, black and white“ and Mariah Carey remembered a “trailblazer and survivor” who was an inspiration to women.
Diana Ross said she was “shocked and saddened” by the news of Turner’s death, while Sir Elton John paid tribute to a “total legend on record and on stage”.
Rolling Stone Sir Mick Jagger, who duetted with Turner during Live Aid in 1985, told of his sadness at the news of her passing.
“She was truly an enormously talented performer and singer. She was inspiring, warm, funny and generous. She helped me so much when I was young and I will never forget her,” he said.
US President Joe Biden called her “one of the most successful recording artists of all time”.
He said: “Jill and I send our love and prayers to her husband Erwin, the rest of the Turner family, and fans around the world who are mourning today for the woman they agree was simply the best.”
Oprah Winfrey remembered the singer as “our forever goddess of rock ‘n’ roll who was a role model not only for me but for the world”.
Echoing this sentiment, pop singer Christina Aguilera said she was “deeply saddened” by Turner’s loss.
“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?” said Angela Bassett, who played Turner in the 1993 biopic What’s Love Got to Do with It?
In a statement shared with CNN, Turner’s family said: “Tina Turner, the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, has died peacefully today at the age of 83 after a long illness in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland.
“With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model.”
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