Actress Shonka Dukureh dies at 44

Fox News reports Shonka Dukureh, the singer and actress, has died at 44. 

Police found Dukureh dead in the bedroom of her apartment on Kothe Way in Nashville, Tennessee.

What we know:

The incident occurred on Thursday morning around 9:30 am.

Dukureh lived in her Nashville apartment with her two young children. One of these children found Dukureh unresponsive, and so the child went to a nearby apartment to tell a neighbor.

That neighbor called the police. Authorities went to the apartment, and, in her bedroom, is where authorities found Dukureh, deceased.

More specifics about the situation have not been provided. The Metro Nashville Police Department has released a statement saying that “no foul play is evident in today’s death of actress Shonka Dukureh . . .”

Dukureh’s body will now undergo an autopsy, which will allow the medical examiner to shed some light on what exactly it was that led to Dukureh’s early death. Currently, the autopsy results are said to be pending.

Who was Dukureh?

Dukureh, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, was a singer and actress best known, perhaps for her role in the recent Elvis film. In the film, Dukureh played Big Mama Thornton, who, according to Deadline, “was the first to record the classic ‘Hound Dog’ song later covered by [Elvis] Presley.” Dukureh actually sang the song on the movie’s soundtrack.

Before Elvis, Dukureh was known for her singing in the Nashville area. In a recent interview, she revealed that she had been singing in Nashville churches ever since she was a little girl and that she had gained a reputation for it.

Besides singing and acting, Dukureh received a degree from Fisk University and she also received an education degree from Trevecca Nazarene University. For a period of time, she taught second-grade students.

John Cooper, the mayor of Nashville, expressed his “deepest condolences” to Dukureh’s family on Twitter Thursday.

He wrote:

My deepest condolences to the family of Shonka Dukureh. Shonka graduated from @Fisk1866 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.

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