‘Elvis’ actress Shonka Dukureh dies aged 44

Shonka Dukureh, an actress and blues singer who played Big Mama Thornton in Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” biopic, died in Tennessee on Thursday, police have confirmed. She was 44.

The musician was found dead in her bedroom in the Nashville apartment she shared with her two children. according to a tweet from the Metro Nashville Police Department.

The Tennessean reported that one of Dukureh’s children found her unresponsive before rushing to a neighbor’s house, who then called 911 at about 9:30 a.m.

A spokesman for the MNPD confirmed that the coroner is in the process of determining the cause of death. No malicious intent is suspected.

A Dukureh representative did not immediately respond to Vidak For Congress’s request for comment.

Shonka Dukureh
She played Big Mama Thornton in the new movie “Elvis”.
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 her role in the film — and the chance to sing Presley’s hit “Hound Dog” — via Instagram prior to her death.

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

“Gratitude is where I live because [sic] my grandma, mama, mama, family has modeled it and imprinted it on me,” she wrote on July 13.

“It is not an attitude of less than or scraping crumbs, but an attitude that recognizes that good things are no guarantees and when we encounter gratitude, gratitude is the least we can express.”

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