Shonka Dukureh, who sang ‘Hound Dog’ in ‘Elvis’, dies aged 44

Singer and actress Shonka Dukureh, best known for playing Big Mama Thornton in Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Elvis’ film, has died aged 44.

Police said the gospel-singing mother or two were found dead in her Nashville home shortly before 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

No cause of death has been reported, although there is no evidence of foul play. She was discovered by one of her children who went to a neighbor for help, according to People.

Police said Fisk graduated from Fisk University, which is a historic black school in Nashville that dates back to 1866. According to her website, that’s where she earned a bachelor’s degree in theater. Dukureh reportedly went on to earn a master’s degree in education from Trevecca Nazarene University, which is also in Nashville.

She had worked as an educator in Music City, USA. In April, she performed with recording artist Doja Cat at the Coachella Music Festival. Dukureh said in an interview shortly after that on rising to fame as a stage and screen star, she “didn’t even know it was a dream” of her until it becomes reality.

According to her website, Dukureh was working on an album called “The Lady Sings the Blues” which she had planned to release last month. This site described her as an undeniable talent that “was just getting started!

His performance as Thornton in “Elvis” included singing a bluesy rendition of “Hound Dog”, which was recorded by Thornton in 1952 and became a 1956 hit for Elvis Presley.

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