Actress Shonka Dukureh found dead in her apartment
American singer and actress, Shonka Dukureh, who had a starring role in the recently released Baz Luhrmann biopic Elvis, has died at the age of 44.
The blues singer was found unresponsive by one of her children at their Nashville apartment on Thursday, July 22, according to local law enforcement.
Metro Nashville Police Department said there is no suspicion of foul play and a cause of death is pending the results of an autopsy.
One of the children found her unresponsive and went to the apartment of a neighbour, who called 911 at 9:27 a.m. Thursday.
Playing Big Mama Thornton was the North Carolina native’s first big movie role. She also played the character in the music video for Doja Cat’s Vegas from the movie’s soundtrack.
Years back, Elvis Presley released a cover version of her Leiber and Stoller’s Hound Dog single which became a worldwide hit.
Speaking about the role, Dukureh told The Tennessean that she could relate to Thornton who ‘was really raw with what she did and very honest and truthful and [made] music as she felt it. And I could totally relate to that.’
She went on: ‘I was very aware and wanting to really be intentional about making sure I was paying respect, respecting her, respecting her legacy, respecting her spirit, respecting everything about what she brought to music and understanding that I’m able to do it because she’s done it and laid that foundation.’
The actor and singer, who also shared the stage at Coachella this year with Doja Cat, had a theatre degree from Fisk University and an education degree from Trevecca Nazarene, radio station WPLN-FM reported.