When Tina Turner Urgently Needed Vital Surgery, Her Husband Chose To Give Her A Life-Saving Gift

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Tina Tuner met Erwin Bach over three decades ago. And now, she has opened up about their relationship in her new book, My Love Story. In it, the star revealed that she secretly underwent major surgery in 2017 – after her husband gave her a priceless gift.

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Turner was born in Nutbush, Tennessee in November 1939. Her birth name was Anna Mae Bullock. The now 78-year-old started singing in the choir at church as a child, but it was when she was a teenager that her career began.

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When Turner was 17 years old, the singer saw Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm perform at a Missouri nightclub. Believe it or not, she was invited to sing with them after Eugene Washington, the band’s drummer, heard her voice. The teen then became a guest singer for the band and even performed backing vocals on one of Ike’s songs. He created the stage name Tina Turner for her and their first single, “A Fool in Love,” was released in 1960.

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Turner had been dating the band’s saxophone player, Raymond Hill, in the late 1950s and fell pregnant with his child. They had a son named Craig who was later adopted by Ike, but sadly took his own life in 2018. He was 59. After her relationship with Hill disintegrated, the singer became romantically involved with Ike.

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The couple welcomed son Ronnie in 1960 and they married two years later in Tijuana, Mexico. However, the marriage soon became strained as Ike was abusive towards Turner. “Sure, I’ve slapped Tina,” he wrote in 1999 autobiography Taking Back My Name. “There have been times when I punched her to the ground without thinking. But I have never beat her.”

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Turner filed for divorce from Ike in 1976 after his cocaine habit and the abuse had become intolerable. She continued her career as a solo artist and is now considered one of the most successful singers in history. The star is known for hits such as “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” “Private Dancer” and “The Best.”

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Nearly ten years after her separation from Ike, Turner met Bach in 1985. The music executive from Germany was 16 years younger than her, but the chemistry was evident right away. “Erwin, when you come to America, I want you to make love to me,” the 78-year-old recalled telling him in My Love Story. “He just looked at me, as if he couldn’t believe his ears. I couldn’t believe what I said either!”

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In the early 1990s, the couple moved to the German town of Cologne, and they now live together in Switzerland. Although their love for each other is clear, Turner had her reservations about remarrying. The first time Bach asked her to be his wife, she declined.

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However, when Bach proposed for a second time, Turner accepted. The singer and the music executive finally married in 2013 after dating for over 25 years. But less than a month after the wedding, she had a stroke that left her needing to re-learn how to walk.

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Then in 2016, the star received some heartbreaking news. Turner was told that she had intestinal cancer. The diagnosis was terrifying – but Bach was there to support her. “Erwin always radiated confidence, optimism and joie de vivre,” she wrote in her autobiography. “With his help, I tried to keep calm.”

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Turner decided to seek homeopathic treatment to manage some of the side effects. But her decision to shun conventional medicine turned out to be a disastrous one. As a result, she was soon in danger of total kidney failure. “The consequences of my ignorance ended up being a matter of life and death,” the singer explained.

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Fortunately, Bach was by her side. Turner continued, “At this terrible moment of guilt and self-recrimination, I learned something wonderful about Erwin. He never reproached me for my mistake. Instead, he was loyal, kind and understanding – and determined to help me get through all this alive.”

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By the end of 2016, Turner’s kidneys were functioning at only 20 percent and the outlook was bleak. “I faced two choices: either regular dialysis or a kidney transplant,” she shared. “Only the transplant would give me a good chance of a near-normal life. But the chances of getting a donor kidney were remote.”

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The singer didn’t want to go on dialysis because she had no desire to “live on a machine.” However, Switzerland’s level of organ donation is among the lowest on the continent. The star began to accept that her days may be numbered – and even joined a group that helps with suicide, known as Exit.

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“If my kidneys were going, and it was time for me to die, I could accept that. It was okay. When it’s time, it’s really time,” she wrote. The singer had come to terms with what she believed was her fate. But Bach couldn’t do the same.

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That’s when Bach offered his wife a gift that could save her life. “He said he didn’t want another woman, or another life,” Turner recalled in My Love Story. “Then he shocked me. He said he wanted to give me one of his kidneys.”

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Turner, who in 2018 received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and even gave up retirement to work on a musical about her life, admitted she is amazed by what Bach did for her. “I could hardly believe it then, and there are times when I still can’t believe it. I was overwhelmed by the enormity of his offer,” she wrote.

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After a test confirmed Bach’s compatibility, the operation took place in 2017 and was a success. The music executive has now recovered entirely from the procedure and Turner is taking immunosuppressants so that her body won’t reject the kidney. And when the musical icon revealed the life-saving gift that her husband had given her, fans were moved by the heartwarming tale.

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“This story restores my faith in true love. [Turner] is blessed to have such a loving and devoted husband,” one commenter shared. Another agreed, “What an inspiring story. Her husband Erwin is such a good man. Love has no boundaries!” The singer’s book was released in October 2018 and she hopes her experience will encourage more people to sign up for organ donation.

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“I lived through a hellish marriage that almost destroyed me, but I went on. I know that my medical adventure is far from over. But I’m still here – we’re still here, closer than we ever imagined,” she wrote in My Love Story. “I can look back and understand why my karma was the way it was. Good came out of bad. Joy came out of pain. And I have never been so completely happy as I am today.”

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