NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Shonka Dukureh, who played Big Mama Thornton in this year’s movie about Elvis Presley, was found dead Thursday in a bedroom at her home in Nashville, police said. Her age was 44.
According to Nashville police, there weren’t any signs of foul play. The medical examiner is still awaiting autopsy results.
Police said that Dukureh was a Fisk University student and a singer from Nashville, who shared her apartment with her children. According to police, one of the children saw Dukureh as unresponsive. She went to her apartment with her two young children and called 911 at 9:30 am.
WPLN-FM reported that the actor shared the Coachella stage with Doja Cat. He graduated with a Theater degree from Fisk, and he also received an Education degree from Trevecca Nazarene.
Dukureh stated that she was a teacher in second grade and worked as a summer program coordinator with youth from inner cities.
She said those students reached out after seeing her in “Elvis.”
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