Around the world, Tina Turner, who died Wednesday at the age of 83, was known for her music, her powerful stage presence and her striking career. But in the Swiss town where he has lived for almost three decades, he is known to live a low-key life – doing his own shopping, queuing at the post office and exercising outdoors.
In front of the house where the rock star lives with her husband, Erwin Bach, and where on Wednesday evening neighbors gathered to light candles and talk, a polished bronze sign asks (in English and German ) that guests don’t ring the doorbell before. noon.
After a lifetime in the public eye, Ms. Turner moved to the sleepy town of Küsnacht, Switzerland, with Mr. Bach, a German music executive whom she began dating in the 1980s. In 1995, Mr. Bach got a job running the Swiss offices of EMI Music in Zurich, and the two moved to the Alpine country. They got married in 2013, the year he got Swiss citizenship and gave up his American passport.
Ms. Turner and Mr. Bach lived in a classic white peak-roofed mansion on the shores of Lake Zurich.
In a 1997 interview with Larry King, Ms. Turner on why he left the United States.
“I left America because my success was in another country and my girlfriend was in another country,” he said. Asked about his success in the United States compared to Europe, he said: “Not as big as Madonna. I’m as big as Madonna in Europe; I’m as big, in some places, as the Rolling Stones.
But he didn’t prefer his fame to anyone, said Severin Silvestri, 30, the manager of Rico’s, a high-end restaurant near his home. “He was a happy, very open and kind person,” she said. Years ago, when she was in better health, Ms. Turner and Mr. Bach eats at Michelin-starred restaurants from time to time. Mr. Silvestri, who used to wait for Ms. Turner, said he was not filming. “He was completely down to earth,” she said.
In addition to his international music career, his Swiss home celebrated him for a public Christmas light display (shining golden wreaths) that he donated to the town on the occasion of his 75th birthday last year. 2014 and for the rescue boat “Tina” which he christened that. year.
Neighbors said they knew Ms. Turner, but they didn’t bother him when they saw him in public, which became less and less in recent years as he struggled with his health.
“He seems to be living a pretty normal life and seems to be enjoying it,” said Oliver Moritz, 46, the manager of a hotel a few hundred yards from the beach, as if he was the kind of person you’d run into while buy. .
Roland Roller Frei, 57, a Swiss music producer who has worked with her on and off for more than a decade, said it was this normal life, undisturbed by fans, that seemed to attract Ms. . Turner on a life in Switzerland.
“I think it’s important for him to find a place where he can be left alone,” he said, adding: “I think he appreciates the fact that he’s not bothered by fans every day, but that he can be happy he in his retirement. in peace.”
The town’s mayor, Markus Ernst, 50, said some residents had become so used to his presence that they had forgotten how big he was outside of Küsnacht. “We were fully aware of his global star quality in 2013, when he got married and when camera teams descended on us from all over the world,” he said.
Mr. Ernst, who says he listens to Ms. Turner as a teenager of cassette tapes and records, said that meeting him in real life was very special. “He has a wonderful aura, is approachable and engages with you in a positive way,” she said.
And he also gives back to his community. “She’s a great ambassador for our community, and she does it voluntarily,” Mr. Ernst said, referring to Ms. Turner in praise of Switzerland and Küsnacht in the media news.
“With the death of Tina Turner, the world has lost an icon,” the president of Switzerland, Alain Berset, posted on Twitter on Wednesday, adding, “My thoughts are with the relatives of this impressive woman who found a second home in Switzerland.”
According to Ms. Turner, one aspect of Swiss life is important. “I have to say that the priority is fresh air – it’s clean, and I feel like I’m really breathing fresh air,” he told a Swiss journalist in 2014. He also said that he feels safe in the country to come out public without security.
When asked during the interview if there was anything about life in Switzerland that he did not like, he replied: “There is absolutely nothing that I do not like, because I know that I like everything before I give the passport,” he said, referring to his American citizenship.
To get Swiss citizenship, Ms. Turner’s ability to speak German, something he admits took time and effort to learn.
In a vigil at the house of Ms. Turner on Wednesday night, neighbors shared ordinary stories about the strange woman next door. A man recounted how Ms. Turner made coffee for the people who worked in his house and he poured it himself. Another talked about meeting him at the post office.
“It’s sad that we lost him,” a resident told a local news outlet. After a pause, he added: “Not only Küsnacht, but the whole world.”