Oprah Winfrey is paying tribute to her longtime friend Tina Turner.
On Wednesday, Winfrey — who befriended the Turner years ago and maintained a strong bond throughout the decades (Winfrey was a guest at the singer's 2013 nuptials to Erwin Bach) — took to social media to honor the icon.
"I started out as a fan of Tina Turner, then a full-on groupie, following her from show to show around the country, and then, eventually, we became real friends," Winfrey wrote on Instagram alongside a series of photos of the two of them. "She is our forever goddess of rock ‘n’ roll who contained a magnitude of inner strength that grew throughout her life. She was a role model not only for me but for the world. She encouraged a part of me I didn’t know existed."
"Once she claimed her freedom from years of domestic abuse, her life became a clarion call for triumph," she added. "I’m grateful for her courage, for showing us what victory looks like wearing Manolo’s and a leather miniskirt. She once shared with me that when her time came to leave this earth, she would not be afraid, but excited and curious. Because she had learned how to LIVE surrounded by her beloved husband, Erwin, and friends. I am a better woman, a better human, because her life touched mine. She was indeed simply the best."
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In another post, Winfrey — who shared a video of the duo dancing together onstage — wrote: "I had the chance to join Tina onstage during her 'Wildest Dreams' tour and felt a glimpse of her enchanted world. I was so nervous that my knees were actually knocking together. Dancing onstage with her in Los Angeles was the most fun I ever remember having stepping out of my box. Tina lived out of the box and encouraged me and every woman to do the same."
The legendary singer died "after a long illness in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland," a spokesperson confirmed to The Messenger on Wednesday. She was 83.
"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Tina Turner," her official social media account added in a post on her Instagram. "With her music and her boundless passion for life, she enchanted millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow. Today we say goodbye to a dear friend who leaves us all her greatest work: her music. All our heartfelt compassion goes out to her family. Tina, we will miss you dearly."
Fans of the "Proud Mary" singer reiterated Winfrey's thoughts.
"As a kid, Oprah Winfrey was my biggest star in the world," one Twitter user wrote alongside a video of Turner surprising Winfrey on her 50th birthday and delivering a performance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2004. "Then Oprah lost her mind when Tina Turner surprised her with her 50th Birthday Show — that’s when I learned who the biggest star in the world was to the biggest star in my world. RIP to the World’s Biggest Star."
A 25-time Grammy Award nominee and 12-time recipient (as well as three Grammy Hall of Fame awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award), Turner solidified her status as one of the most influential and respected artists in the industry.
During a 2005 interview with Turner, Winfrey was able to articulate exactly what the singer represented throughout her lifetime.
"You don't just dance and sing," Winfrey said. "You represent possibility. When people see you performing, they know you've come up from the ashes, from the depths of despair. It means that however down a woman is, she can be like you."
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