‘Elvis’ actress and blues singer, Shonka Dukureh, was found dead in her home on Thursday. She played Big Mama Thornton in Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” biopic. The actress was 44 years old.
According to a tweet by the Metro Nashville Police Department, the singer was found dead in her bedroom in the Nashville apartment occupied with her two children. Before hurrying to a neighbor’s home and calling 911 at approximately 9:30 AM, one of her children found her unresponsive.
BREAKING: No foul play is evident in today's death of actress Shonka Dukureh, 44, who portrayed Big Mama Thornton in this year's Elvis movie. Dukureh, a Fisk Univ graduate, was found dead in the bedroom of her Kothe Way apt that she shared with her 2 young children.— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) July 21, 2022
The cause of death is yet to be determined by the medical examiner, a spokesperson for the MNPD confirmed. Foul play is not suspected.
The multi-talented artist is best known for her role as big momma Thornton in the “Elvis” film, which chronicles the life of legendary performer Elvis Presley.
According to IMDB, the movie appeared on June 24th and was Dukureh’s only film credited. Via Instagram, preceding her death, Dukureh discussed her role in the film and the chance to sing Presley’s legendary hit song “hound dog.”
“Gratefulness is where I live cuz [sic] my granny, gmama, momma, family modeled and instilled it in me,” she wrote on July 13.
“It isn’t a posture of less than or crumbs scraping, but one that acknowledges good things aren’t a guarantee and when we encounter them thankfulness, gratefulness is the least we can express.”