Blues singer Shonka Dukureh, who played Big Mama Thornton in the new Elvis biopic, has died at the age of 44.
The Metro Nashville Police Department said the singer was found dead in her apartment on Thursday by one of her two children.
A cause of death has not yet been identified but foul play is not suspected, according to police.
Dukureh was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, and lived in Nashville. Big Mama Thornton was her breakout film role.
She previously said of Thornton: “[she] was really raw with what she did and very honest and truthful and [made] music as she felt it. And I could totally relate to that.”
She added, “I was very aware and wanting to really be intentional about making sure I was paying respect, respecting her, respecting her legacy, respecting her spirit, respecting everything about what she brought to music and understanding that I’m able to do it because she’s done it and laid that foundation.”
Dukureh was gearing up to drop her first studio album which she described as “a tribute to the blues music genre.”