Rock ’n’ roll legend Tina Turner experienced steep highs and lows in her personal life, but some of her best memories came from being a mother. Turner, who died Wednesday at age 83, was a mom of four.
“Some of the happiest moments in my life were the birth of my beautiful baby boys, Craig and Ronnie,” Tina told Today in 2021. She was also an adoptive mother to ex-husband Ike Turner’s sons, Michael and Ike Jr.
But Turner’s relationships with her children were also complicated at times and even marked by tragedy—Craig and Ronnie both died while she was still alive. Here’s what you need to know about each of Turner’s children.
Craig Raymond Turner
August 29, 1958–July 3, 2018
Craig Turner was born to Tina, then 18, and musician Raymond Hill, who played the saxophone in Ike Turner’s band, Kings of Rhythm. Ike adopted Craig when he married Tina in 1962.
In a 2005 interview with TV host Oprah Winfrey, Turner revealed her abuse took an emotional toll on Craig. “He’d always look down in sadness,” she said.
After graduating high school, Craig served in the U.S. Navy and became a real estate agent. He tragically died by suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on July 3, 2018, at his home in Los Angeles. He was 59.
Turner told Winfrey she was initially in disbelief over Craig’s death in a 2018 interview. She went on to share details of her final conversation with her son:
“During our last talk, he said, ‘I just want to hear your voice and that laugh.’ He had never said something like that. I think that was his goodbye to me, but I didn’t realize it at the time. I’m still trying to find out why he did it. Maybe something from his childhood followed him through life and was still weighing on him, and he just couldn’t handle it anymore. I don’t know.”
Ike Turner Jr.
Ike Jr. was the son of Ike Turner and Lorraine Taylor. Tina adopted him at an early age, after marrying Ike.
Ike Sr. pulled his son out of school at age 13 to tour together, according to the Daily Mail. Ike Jr. became a musician, learning to play the drums, piano, guitar, and bass. He worked as a sound engineer for Tina after her split from Ike Sr., though he alleged his father beat him with a gun in an effort to sever his relationship with his adoptive mother.
Ike Jr. won a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album as a producer for his father’s 2006 album Risin’ With the Blues. He now plays in a tribute band called the Love Thang Band.
According to People, he fell out of touch with Tina by 1985. He told the Daily Mail in 2018 he had not spoken to her for almost two decades. “My mother is living her life—she has a new husband, and she’s in Europe. She doesn’t want to have anything to do with the past,” he said.
Michael is the second son of Ike Turner and Lorraine Taylor. As with his full-brother, Ike Jr., Tina adopted him.
According to People, Ike Jr. told Spin in 1985 that Michael struggled following Ike Sr. and Tina’s divorce. “Michael wanted my mother and father to get back together,” Ike Jr. said. “He was hurt by their being apart.”
Not much is known about Michael’s professional life, but he reportedly dealt with addiction as an adult. In a 2017 interview, Ike Jr. revealed that Michael had several strokes and seizures and was using a wheelchair. He also said in 2018 that Tina supported Michael financially, though she didn’t visit him at a Southern California convalescent home.
October 27, 1960–December 8, 2022
Ronnie was the son of Ike and Tina Turner—their only biological child together. According to People, Ronnie became a musician and played bass in a group called Manufactured Funk. He also had a cameo in the 1993 biopic What’s Love Got to Do with It about his parents.
However, Tina told TV Week in 1989 that Ronnie had an affluent upbringing but behaved self-destructively. He reportedly ran into legal issues as a young adult, with Turner saying he was “very influenced by drugs.” and had two children by 2000.
By 2000, Ronnie had two children. Then in March 2007, he married Afida Turner, a French singer. Ronnie died from complications of colon cancer and cardiovascular disease on December 8, 2022. “Ronnie, you left the world far too early,” Tina wrote in an Instagram post shortly after his death. “In sorrow, I close my eyes and think of you, my beloved son.”
Tyler Piccotti joined the Biography.com staff in 2023, and before that had worked almost eight years as a newspaper reporter and copy editor. He is a graduate of Syracuse University, an avid sports fan, a frequent moviegoer, and trivia buff.