Tina Turner was a beloved music icon with recognition in every corner of the globe. But the “Proud Mary” singer noted herself that she was more famous in Europe than in America. In 1995, she moved to Switzerland with her husband, Erwin Bach, and never looked back. She even renounced her U.S. citizenship in 2013 and became a Swiss national.
Tributes began pouring in yesterday (May 24) after news of her death shocked the world. Some of the people most affected by her passing were the residents of Küsnacht, the lakeside town near Zurich where Turner lived since 1998. The New York Times spoke to locals today (May 25) who were at the gates of her estate leaving flowers, candles, and notes memorializing the singer who was “simply the best.”
“[I’m] devastated,” one man named Kosta admitted. “She’s been a part of my life for over 35 years now. She was a good neighbor. She showed up in town. She was very well liked.”
“I live nearby; I work at the Dolder [hotel],” another named Vincent recounted. “Once in a while, she came to visit. So for me, she has a special place in my heart. She’s just a great, beautiful person.”
“Five years ago, I was with my little child and I saw the Rolls-Royce and I told him, ‘Hey, this seems to be the car of Tina Turner.’ And then she opened the window, and said, ‘Hi!’ and smiled,” a woman named Evelyne gushed. “I was so happy. I was shouting for happiness. And now she passed away. It’s really sad.”
Check out the touching video below.
Tina Turner, who died at 83, was globally known for her barrier-smashing career. But in the Swiss town where she lived for nearly three decades, she was known for living a low-key life. Her neighbors gathered on Thursday to light candles and tell stories. https://t.co/q6Xwc4p8Dd pic.twitter.com/LkpfFCRg7f
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 25, 2023
Turner reflected on her departure from the U.S. in a 1997 interview with Larry King. When asked about her success in her native country versus Europe, she remarked she was “Not as big as Madonna” in the States. “I’m as big as Madonna in Europe,” she smiled. “I’m as big as, in some places, the Rolling Stones.”
Watch the famous interview below.