(Küsnacht) Tina Turner was in her element on stage, delivering dazzling stage performances. Once the lights went out, the Queen of Rock took advantage of the Swiss tranquility offered to her by her new homeland.
Far from the hustle and bustle, the megastar led a quiet life in the small town of Küsnacht, a wealthy suburb of the financial capital of Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Zurich.
Many locals came to lay flowers on Thursday outside her lavish residence, Algonquin Castle, and remembered seeing her in local restaurants and supermarkets.
The singer moved to Switzerland in 1995 with her companion, German producer Erwin Bach, 67. She lived in Küsnacht until her death on Wednesday at age 83 after a long illness.
“ I knew her personally, that’s why we feel sad,” city mayor Markus Ernst told AFP.
“ She was really very happy here. I think she really had found the place she wanted to spend the rest of her life. She was looking for calm and discretion,” he added. “ She had really fallen in love with Küsnacht ”.
In 2013, three months after marrying Erwin Bach and acquiring Swiss nationality, Tina Turner had even renounced her American citizenship.
Swiss President Alain Berset paid tribute to her on the announcement of her death, tweeting: “ With the death of Tina Turner, the world has lost an icon […] who had found a second home in Switzerland ”.
In 2021, the University of Bern awarded him an honorary doctorate for his “unique musical work and artistic life”.
She had to learn German and Swiss civic culture in order to pass the necessary tests to obtain Swiss nationality, and the local press called her a model citizen. She participated in the frequent “ popular votes ”, these local or national referendums which are the particularity of the Swiss political system.
As elsewhere in Switzerland, in Küsnacht, which has some 14,000 inhabitants, discretion and respect for privacy are almost a religion.
Tina Turner “felt that she was part of this city” and that in return “ she meant a lot to us”, said its mayor, Markus Ernst.
The singer even financed the local Christmas decorations. Workers put them back in place on Thursday in tribute to the great star on the street lamps of the main street of Küsnacht.
She had also given her name, Tina, to the rescue vessel that has been patrolling Lake Zurich for a decade.
The house where she lived, set back from the main street, overlooks the lake and is surrounded by a splendid garden. On the gates, Rosanne Salazar hung a sign that read: “200 million records sold. Eight Grammy Awards. Only one Tina Turner”.
“I have lived here for ten years. We care about Tina,” the 56-year-old woman told AFP. “She had a horrible childhood, she was abandoned and abused by Ike Turner, but here in Switzerland she found a happy ending. People here left her alone.”
His neighbors of course appreciated his music, but they also cherished the strength it exuded, recalls the mayor.
“A lot of people admired him,” he said. “We’re going to need time to get used to the idea that we’ve lost Tina forever. But I’m sure that, one way or another, it will be eternal.”