The tragic truth about the actress who played Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thorton in “Elvis.”

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July 2022 has been a sad month when it comes to entertainment. Not long after the death of Godfather actor James Caan, it was revealed that comedian Jak Knight (Bust Down) had died by suicide. On July 21, outlets broke the news of yet another untimely death of a celebrity.

Shonka Dukureh made her screen debut in 2022 in the feature film biopic based on the life of Elvis Presley, opposite Austin Butler, Tom Hanks and Dacre Montgomery.

Sadly, it has been confirmed that Shonka died unexpectedly at her home in Nashville, Tennessee. But what was her cause of death? Here’s what we know.

Source: Warner Bros.

Shonka Dukureh as Big Mama Thorton in Elvis

What was Shonka Dukureh’s cause of death?

Authorities responded to an emergency call at Shonka’s home around 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning, according to TMZ. Her neighbor called after one of Shonka’s children found her dead in her bedroom.

At this point, Shonka’s death was only described as passing away in her sleep. Though police don’t suspect foul play, loved ones will have to wait until they see her autopsy report to find out what really happened to the actress.

In death she is survived by her two young children.

Source: Facebook/I’m Shonka Dukureh

Shonka Dukureh

Shonka Dukureh starred as Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thorton in “Elvis.”

Shonka’s breakthrough role in Elvis quickly made her a fan favorite. But before taking on the mantle of Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton — made famous by her recordings of “Hound Dog” and “Ball ‘n’ Chain,” which have since been sampled by the likes of Elvis and Janice Joplin — Shonka sang gospel.

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In addition to appearing in the film, she provided vocals for Doja Cat’s “Vegas” and made a cameo appearance in the music video.

Shonka previously told Shadow and Act of her role in Elvis: “You know what, it’s all amazing because I know I realize there were a lot of people who could have played the role, or they had a lot opportunities they had could have played the role.”

“I just wanted it to give Big Mama Thornton the proper respect and do her justice in the film,” she added.

The real Big Mama Thorton died in 1954 at the age of 57.

Following the announcement of Shonka’s death, fans flooded social media with their condolences. A fan of the singer tweeted: “Sadness. She played Big Mama Thornton in the new Elvis movie and although her performance was brief, it was a highlight of the film. heartbreaking. Rest in peace, Shonka.”

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