‘Elvis’ actress and singer dies at 44 years old

Dukureh is pictured with "Elvis" director Baz Luhrmann on her Instagram.
Dukureh is pictured with "Elvis" director Baz Luhrmann on her Instagram.(Instagram)
Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 1:20 PM HST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV/Gray News) - An actress and singer recently seen in the 2022 Elvis biopic was found dead Wednesday, according to Tennessee police.

Authorities said 44-year-old Shonka Dukureh, who portrayed Big Mama Thornton in “Elvis,” was found dead in a Nashville apartment that she shared with her two young children.

Dukureh was reportedly found unresponsive by one of her kids, who then ran to a neighbor’s apartment, WSMV reports. The neighbor then called 911 at about 9:30 a.m.

Police said Dukureh’s death is currently unclassified pending autopsy results from the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Dukureh is also known for performing the hit song “Vegas” at Coachella with rapper Doja Cat.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper released a message in response to the actress’ passing.

“My deepest condolences to the family of Shonka Dukureh,” he said. “Shonka graduated from Fisk University and called Nashville home for many years. Her powerful voice and artistry will live on through her music, and we honor her memory on this sad day.”

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