How Tina Turner's husband donated an organ to save her because 'he didn't want another woman'

19 May 2022, 11:46

Tina Turner recalls the incredible moment her husband Erwin Bach (pictured) decided to donate a kidney to save her life in 2016.
Tina Turner recalls the incredible moment her husband Erwin Bach (pictured) decided to donate a kidney to save her life in 2016. Picture: Alamy

By Giorgina Hamilton

In 2016 Tina Turner's kidneys started to fail and she was nearing death, and in an incredible move, her husband, Erwin Bach, stepped in and donated his own kidney to save the star.

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Tina Turner was recovering from intestinal cancer and a stroke when her kidneys began functioning at only 20 percent and were 'plunging rapidly'.

The 'Proud Mary' singer, 82, was faced with two choices: dialysis or a kidney transplant and a choice needed to be made quickly.

It was then in an extraordinary move, that her second husband, German music exec Erwin Bach, 66, made a life-changing decision.

Tina Turner recently recalled that difficult December day in her autobiography My Love Story, giving a stunning insight into her illness and the relationship with her husband of nine years.

Tina Turner recalls how husband Erwin Bach (pictured in 1989) donated his own kidney to save her life.
Tina Turner recalls how husband Erwin Bach (pictured in 1989) donated his own kidney to save her life. Picture: Alamy
Erwin Bach and Tina Turner attend a dinner together in 1989, four years after they first met.
Erwin Bach and Tina Turner attend a dinner together in 1989, four years after they first met. Picture: Alamy

"Only the transplant would give me a good chance of a near-normal life. But the chances of getting a donor kidney were remote," Tina said.

The iconic singer added she didn't want to "live on a machine", saying: "It wasn't my idea of life. But the toxins in my body had started taking over.

"I couldn't eat. I was surviving but not living. I began to think about death.

"If my kidneys were going, and it was time for me to die, I could accept that. It was OK. When it's time, it's really time."

Tina Turner even signed up for assisted suicide, before her husband stepped in and put a stop to it.

Erwin Bach and Tina have been together for over three decades after meeting in 1985. Pictured in 1985.
Erwin Bach and Tina have been together for over three decades after meeting in 1985. Pictured in 1985. Picture: Alamy
Erwin Bach and Tina Turner pictured in Paris in 2018
Erwin Bach and Tina Turner pictured in Paris in 2018. Picture: Getty

Tina continued: "He said he didn't want another woman, or another life.

"Then he shocked me. He said he wanted to give me one of his kidneys."

Erwin underwent testing to see if he was a match, and after getting the all clear the pair went into surgery in April 2017.

The operation was a huge success and Tina fondly remembered the first time she saw her husband after the transplant.

She said: "The best moment was when Erwin came rolling into my room in his wheelchair.

"He somehow managed to look good, even handsome, as he greeted me with an energetic: 'Hi, darling!' I was so emotional - happy, overwhelmed and relieved that we'd come through this alive."

Erwin Bach and Tina Turner arrive at the press night performance of "Tina: The Tina Turner Musical" at the Aldwych Theatre on April 17, 2018
Erwin Bach and Tina Turner arrive at the press night performance of "Tina: The Tina Turner Musical" at the Aldwych Theatre on April 17, 2018. Picture: Getty

While Erwin made a full recovery, Tina still takes immunosuppressants to this day - ensuring that her body doesn't reject her husband's kidney.

Erwin Bach and Tina have been together for over three decades after meeting in 1985.

After 27-years together, they married in a civil ceremony on the banks of Lake Zurich in Switzerland in July 2013.

Turner met Bach when she landed at the airport in Cologne, Germany for her Private Dancer tour.

Erwin, who was an executive with record label EMI, arrived to collect Tina in a Mercedes Jeep - a gift from her manager Roger Davies.

But it wasn't the car the star was impressed by, it was the man driving it.

Tina Turner and her husband Erwin Bach pictured in 2015
Tina Turner and her husband Erwin Bach pictured in 2015. Picture: Alamy

"My heart suddenly started to beat BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, drowning out all other sounds. My hands were ice-cold," she wrote."

"So this is what they call love at first sight, I thought. Oh my God, I am not ready for this."

Tina Turner was previously married to Ike Turner for 16 years until they divorced in 1978.

The couple had two biological sons Ronald Renelle Turner and Craig Raymond Turner and Tina adopted two of Ike's other children Ike Turner Jr. and Michael Turner and raised them as her own.