August 19, 2022

Shonka Dukureh, ‘Elvis’ actress and blues singer, dead at 44

2 min read

Police confirmed that actress and blues singer Shonka Dukureh, who played Big Mama Thornton in Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” biopic, died Thursday in Tennessee. She was 44 years old.

The musician was found dead inside his bedroom in the Nashville apartment he shared with his two children. According to a tweet from the Metro Nashville Police Department,

Tennessean told that one of Dukureh’s children found him unresponsive before going to the neighbor’s house, who called 911 at about 9:30

An MNPD spokesperson confirmed that the medical examiner is working to determine the cause of death. No error is expected.

A representative for Dukureh did not immediately respond to Page Six’s request for comment.

Shonka Dukureho
She played Big Mama Thornton in the new “Elvis” movie.
Warner Bros. / Avalon

The mother of two is best known for playing the iconic role of Big Mama Thornton in “Elvis,” which follows the life of the late Elvis Presley. The film, which premiered on June 24, was Dukureh’s first and only film credit, according to imdb,

Dukureh proudly reflected on his role in the film — and to have the opportunity to sing Presley’s hit song “Hound Dog” — before his death via Instagram.

Shonka Dukureh and her daughter
Dukureh was allegedly found by one of his children.
Instagram / iamshonkadurukeh

“Gratitude is where I live cuz [sic] My Nani, Gamma, Mamma, family modeled and instilled it in me,” she wrote on 13 July.

“It is not a currency to minimize or scrap the pieces, but one who accepts good things is not a guarantee and when we encounter them with gratitude, gratitude is the least we can express.”

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