Angela Bassett shares Tina Turner’s last words to her in emotional tribute

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Angela Bassett says she has carried a piece of Tina Turner in her spirit since 1993.

Turner, the legendary performer who rose to fame in the 1960s, died at age 83 at her home in Switzerland, her publicist announced May 24. Bassett portrayed Turner in the 1993 biopic “What's Love Got To Do With It,” a role that earned Bassett her first Academy Award nomination.

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In a statement shared with NBC News by her spokesperson, Bassett said “it's impossible to say goodbye to someone who was as impactful as Turner.”

“How do we say farewell to a woman who owned her pain and trauma and used it as a means to help change the world?” she asked.

“Through her courage in telling her story, her commitment to stay the course in her life, no matter the sacrifice, and her determination to carve out a space in rock and roll for herself and for others who look like her, Tina Turner showed others who lived in fear what a beautiful future filled with love, compassion, and freedom should look like.”

She also shared Turner's last words to her.

“Her final words to me — for me — were ‘You never mimicked me. Instead, you reached deep into your soul, found your inner Tina, and showed her to the world.’ I shall hold these words close to my heart for the rest of my days,” she remembered.

In April, Turner wrote for TIME an essay in honor of Bassett, who was named by the magazine one of its 100 most influential people of the year. In it, Turner said she was initially skeptical of the biopic starring Bassett because she wondered if anyone could sing and dance like her.

“She’s perfect,” Turner recalled thinking when she saw Bassett. “You never mimicked me. Instead, you reached deep into your soul, found your inner Tina, and showed her to the world.”

Bassett in her statement encouraged people to remember their “inner Tina.”

"So on today, while we mourn the loss of this iconic voice and presence, she gave us more than we could have ever asked," she said. "She gave us her whole self. And Tina Turner is a gift that that will always be 'simply the best.' Angels, sing thee to thy rest…Queen.”

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