Celebrities are expressing their heartbreak over the sudden death of Shonka Dukureh.
As we previously reported, the 44-year-old actress and singer, who portrayed Big Mama Thornton in the film Elvis, was found dead in her apartment in Nashville on Thursday morning. According to the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department, one of her children found her unresponsive and rushed to a neighbor’s apartment, who called the authorities. The cause of her sudden death has not been revealed yet, but the police noted that no foul play is suspected at this time.
Such a heartbreaking loss…
Many have since taken to social media to express their grief over the passing of Shonka, including Elvis director Baz Luhrmann. He honored the star by sharing several lively behind-the-scenes pictures of her and penning an emotional message on Instagram that read:
“A special light went out today and all of the Elvis movie family are heartbroken by the loss of Shonka Dukureh. From the moment she came into our world, Shonka brought joy, spirit and of course her voice and her music. Whenever she was on set, on stage or even just in the room, everyone always felt uplifted.”
Acknowledging that Shonka had just got her big break in the industry, Baz continued:
“Shonka was just starting to find a larger audience for her tremendous talent, and I got to see her uplift whole crowds of people at Coachella and beyond. A favorite word of Shonka’s, in daily use, was ‘blessings,’ and I, along with the entire Elvis cast, crew and musical collaborators, feel truly blessed to have had time with her. We send all our love and support to Shonka’s children and family at this time.”
A post shared by Baz Luhrmann (@bazluhrmann)
Her castmates Austin Butler, who played the titular role, and Olivia DeJonge, who portrayed Priscilla Presley, both shared the filmmaker’s message on their respective Instagram Stories. Meanwhile, Kelvin Harrison Jr., who played B.B. King, added that the musician was “a gift to us all.”
They were not the only people involved in the movie paying tribute to Shonka. Doja Cat – who featured the momma on the song Vegas and performed the track with her at Coachella this year – offered her condolences to her family and friends. She said on IG Stories:
“Rest in Peace Shonka—an incredible talent taken from us too soon. Was a true honor getting to know her and I am so grateful to her for lending her incredible vocals to ‘Vegas.’ Her amazing performance in Elvis amongst her other artistry will live on. Sending my deepest condolences to her loved ones.”
Her beautiful vocals truly will. You can hear her talent shine in the song (below):
Our hearts go out to Shonka’s loved ones and her fellow Elvis cast members during this difficult time.
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