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Actress and Singer Shonka Dukureh from Recent ‘Elvis’ Movie Found Dead in Her Nashville Apartment at 44

Shonka Dukureh, a gospel singer and the actress who played Big Mama Thornton in the recent Elvis movie, was found dead in her bedroom in an apartment in Nashville on Thursday at the age of 44.

Dukureh died just one month after her big screen debut in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis.

The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department issued a statement on Twitter stating there was no evidence of criminal activity.

“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,” Metro Nashville PD announced on Twitter.

“Dukureh, a Fisk Univ graduate, was found dead in the bedroom of her Kothe Way apt that she shared with her 2 young children” the post added.

According to reports, one of the children found that Dukureh was unresponsive Thursday morning and immediately ran to a neighbor’s apartment. The neighbor then dialed 911.

An official cause of death has not been determined while they wait for autopsy results from the Davidson County Medical Examiner’s Office, as reported by the Independent.

Mayor John Cooper of Nashville also issued the following statement after hearing about Dukureh’s death.

“My deepest condolences to the family of Shonka Dukureh,” Cooper said. “Shonka graduated from Fisk and called Nashville home for many years. Her powerful voice and artistry will live on through her music, and we honor her memory on this sad day.”

Celebrities and fans reacted following Dukureh’s death:

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