Shonka Dukureh, “Elvis” actress found dead in Nashville apartment

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.

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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.”

Shonka Dukureh, "Elvis" actress found dead in Nashville apartment

Shonka Dukureh, a Fisk University graduate and Nashville singer, was an actor, who also shared the stage at Coachella this year with Doja Cat, had a theater degree from Fisk and graduated from Trevecca Nazarene with an education degree, WPLN-FM reported.


In an interview with the station last month, Dukureh said she taught second grade for a while and then worked with inner city youth through after-school and summer programs.

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She said those students reached out after seeing her in “Elvis.”

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