Elvis actress Shonka Dukureh has passed away aged 44

Publish Date
Friday, 22 July 2022, 2:56PM

Shonka Dukureh, who recently drew praise for her role as blues singer Big Mama Thornton in Baz Luhrmann's Elvis Presley biopic, has died.

The 44-year-old was reportedly found dead on Thursday 21 July by one of her young children in the bedroom of her Nashville apartment.

Metro Nashville Police Department released a statement via Twitter today that read: "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."

Dukureh was renowned as a gospel singer in her hometown of Nashville and taught local kids.

Her role in Elvis was initially set to be off-screen, but she was later asked to appear in front of the camera.

Big Mama Thornton had a huge impact on the young Elvis, who made her song 'Hound Dog' world famous with his 1956 cover.