Shonka Dukureh, a Nashville musician who portrayed singer Big Mama Thornton in the recent “Elvis” film, has died, officials said Thursday. Dukureh was found dead in her Nashville apartment, where she lived with her two young children, the Metro Nashville Police Department said in a statement.
Police said that just before 9:30 a.m., the 44-year-old Dukureh was found unresponsive in a bedroom by one of her children. The child ran to a neighbor’s apartment for help, police said.
No foul play is suspected, although an autopsy will determine the exact cause of death, police said. No further details were released.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper honored Dukureh on Twitter, writing that “Her powerful voice and artistry will live on through her music, and we honor her memory on this sad day.”