Elvis Actress Shonka Dukureh's Cause of Death Revealed

New details on the passing of Shonka Dukureh have come to light.

Just over a month after Dukureh, who played the role of Big Mama Thornton in the movie Elvis, was found dead in her Nashville apartment, a cause of death has been revealed.

A spokesperson for the middle Tennessee regional forensic center confirms to E! News that Dukureh passed away from hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease at age 44. Her manner of death was determined to be natural.

On July 21, Nashville Police shared a tweet which stated that Dukureh was discovered dead in the bedroom of her apartment. At the time, police noted that no foul play was suspected in her passing.

While Elvis is the only film credit listed on Dukureh’s IMDb page, the actress left quite the legacy behind with that project.

Baz Luhrmann, the director of the movie Elvis, penned a tribute in her honor, noting, “She was so loved by the entire cast and crew.”

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“Underneath all that goodness was a playful human being, funny as hell,” Luhrmann wrote in a piece published by Time in July. “I can’t imagine her being in a situation where she wouldn’t connect with those around her.”

Luhrmann recalled how when he first discovered Dukureh, she was singing gospel. He shared that he knew he had found an “authentic spiritual person” for the film because he could “hear her voice really lifting people up.”

Baz Luhrmann, Shonka Dukureh

Hugh Stewart

“Shonka really brought Big Mama Thornton to life with tremendous passion and confidence, and I’m grateful that she was able to share her gift with a wider audience,” he wrote. “She was just an extraordinary human being.”

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