Inside Tina Turner's Health Struggles, from Cancer to a Kidney Transplant: 'Never-Ending Up and Down'

The Queen of Rock "died peacefully at the age of 83 after a long illness in her home," Turner's rep confirmed to PEOPLE on Wednesday

Tina Turner has died after a long illness at her home near Zürich in Switzerland, her publicist Bernard Doherty confirmed in a statement to PEOPLE. She was 83.

Throughout her longstanding 60-year career, the Queen of Rock was often vocal about her health struggles, which date back to 1978 when she was diagnosed with hypertension.

She detailed the experience in an interview with the European Health Kidney Alliance explaining, "I can’t remember ever getting an explanation about what high blood pressure means or how it affects the body. I considered high blood pressure my normal. Hence, I didn't really try to control it."

With her condition left untreated, Turner suffered a stroke in 2013 just three weeks after she wed her husband, Erwin Bach.

She candidly detailed the experience in her 2018 memoir My Love Story, explaining, "That's when I discovered I couldn’t stand on my own. I was too embarrassed to call for help. Legs for days and muscles of steel from dancing, but I didn't have the strength to get up. Terrified, I dragged myself over to a sofa, all the while thinking that I couldn't imagine Tina Turner paralyzed. I doubted that I would ever be able to wear high heels again, let alone dance in them.”

Tina Turner
Tina Turner in 2009.

Dave Hogan/Getty

While Turner praised her husband for radiating "confidence, optimism and joie de vivre" that helped her "keep calm" during her recovery, her health ultimately took a turn for the worse again in 2016 when she was diagnosed with intestinal cancer.

After experiencing unpleasant side effects from her initial treatment, Turner turned to homeopathic remedies, which only worsened her condition and led her to have total kidney failure.

"The consequences of my ignorance ended up being a matter of life and death," she wrote in her memoir. "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."

Bach then donated his own kidney to his wife. The operation took place in April 2017 and was largely a success, though Turner still experienced mild symptoms which included nausea and dizziness, according to her interview with the European Kidney Health Alliance.

"The months after the transplantation were marked by a never-ending up and down," she told the outlet. "From time to time, my body tried to reject the donor kidney, as it frequently happens after transplantation. Every so often, this required more hospital admissions. I kept feeling nauseous and dizzy, forgot things, and was scared a lot. These problems are still not quite resolved. I am on multiple prescriptions and take great care to follow my doctors' orders meticulously. For I know that I can trust them and their therapies."

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Nevertheless, Turner had a positive outlook following the procedure, which she detailed in 2020's Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good.

"I'm happy to say that, thanks to my beloved husband, Erwin, giving me one of his kidneys, the gift of life, I'm in good health and loving life every day," she wrote. "I'm also thankful that I've not only survived but thrived so that I can pass on to you this book containing precious gifts that were given to me — the greatest gifts I can offer."

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