Like fans all across the world, friends of the legendary Tina Turner are remembering the singer who died on Tuesday after battling a "long illness." Among them, fellow artist Cher and multi-hyphenate star Oprah Winfrey recall spending time with Turner in the later years of her life.
"She fought this sickness for such a long time and she was so strong," Cher said when calling into MSNBC's The Beat With Ari Melber. "But towards the end, she told me once, she said, 'I'm really ready. I just don't want to put up with this anymore.'"
Winfrey reflected on a similar conversation during Thursday's broadcast of CBS Mornings. "I was certainly aware that she was ill," Winfrey said. "I had seen her in 2019 and gone to visit her in the hospital and she had said to me then that she was actually ready to go, meaning, ready to leave the planet. I expected then that was going to be the last time that I saw her."
Still, both women had joyful memories to share about Tina Turner and her positivity throughout her health struggles.
Kevin Mazur/WireImage Tina Turner and Cher
Winfrey noted that despite enduring "one health crisis after another" — including a stroke, a kidney transplant, and back surgery — Turner always bounced back. "She was a standard for living well and being proud," Winfrey said. "I'm proud to have been able to call her a friend but I would've been happy just being a groupie."
Oprah and Cher both had opportunities to visit Turner at her home in Zürich, Switzerland, an experience that Cher recalled fondly, saying Turner was "really happy."
"I started going to visit her because I thought, 'I need to put this time into our friendship, so she knows we haven't forgotten her," said Cher. Reflecting on her very first visit, she added that health struggles never kept Turner from having fun.
"[Turner] said, 'I can't spend too much time,' then five hours later we were laughing like crazy," Cher recalled. "She was having a good time in spite of the fact that she was really sick and not wanting people to know about it."
Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic Tina Turner and Oprah Winfrey
Winfrey spoke more of her own visit in an Instagram tribute post to the rock & roll legend. Attached to a slideshow of the duo throughout the years, Winfrey wrote, "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."