Oprah Winfrey Reveals Tina Turner Told Her She Was 'Ready to Go'

Tina Turner told Oprah Winfrey she was "ready to go" during one of their final meetings in 2019. The "What's Love Got to Do With It" singer died on Wednesday at 83 after a long illness. Winfrey and Turner had a long-lasting friendship, with Winfrey calling the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll her "shero" and a "model for triumphant living."

Winfrey and CBS Mornings co-anchor Gayle King were in Italy on vacation when they heard the news of Turner's death. During an appearance on the morning show, Winfrey said she knew about Turner's poor health and visited her in the hospital in 2019. Turner, who had been through several health complications in the years before her death, was ready to depart from this plane, Winfrey said.

"I certainly was aware that she was ill, but you know I had seen her in 2019 and gone to the hospital to visit her the hospital in 2019. And she had said to me then that she actually was ready to go with the meaning ready to leave the planet," Winfrey explained. "And I expected then that was going to be the last time that I saw her."

Winfrey went on to praise Turner's husband, German music executive Erwin Bach. Turner and Bach lived in Switzerland, and when Turner needed a kidney transplant, Bach donated his organ. "I mean, he literally willed her to live and she's been through, you know, one health crisis after another," Winfrey said. "She just kept coming back," King chimed in.

King and Winfrey have been listening to Turner's songs since last night. "You just keep thinking about who she was, what a badass she was, all that she overcame, and still came out on the other side said she wasn't bitter," King said when reflecting on Turner's impact on the music industry. However, Winfrey looked at Turner's impact beyond music.

"It's incredible when you meet somebody that you've admired for a long time, and they not only live up to what you hope that they would be but they surpass, exceed and transcend," Winfrey said on CBS Mornings. "And that's what Tina was."

Winfrey also published a longer tribute to Turner on her website, where she recalled Turner telling her she "had a full life and was 'tired'" when they met in a Swiss hospital in 2019. She also described Turner and Bach's relationship as the "most magnificent love story I've ever witnessed... the definition of 'in sickness and in health.'"

"Tina Turner was my 'shero,'" Winfrey wrote. "She was a model for triumphant living. I started out as a fan, then was a full-on groupie, following her from show to show around the country, and then we eventually became friends and I got to eat eggs with truffle for the first time at her breakfast table, laugh in her kitchen, attend her wedding to Erwin. I would've been fine remaining a Tina groupie, but becoming her friend was a blessing in my lifetime."

Two months before her death, Turner encouraged fans to "show your kidneys love" and wrote about her experience with poor kidney health for Show Your Kidneys Love. She was diagnosed with hypertension in 1978. After she suffered a stroke in 2009, she "struggled to get back on my feet" because of her poorly managed hypertension. That was when she learned her kidneys weren't working well and had lost 35% of their function. Even after her kidney transplant, she still faced issues because her body "tried to reject" the donor's kidney. Turner shared one more Instagram post before her death, a message to the London cast of Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, which marked five years at the West End in April.