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TARJA TURUNEN opens up about her stroke scare: 'it was a shock for me'


Former NIGHTWISH frontwoman Tarja Turunen has opened up about the stroke she suffered in late 2018 following the completion of her U.S. tour.

The 44-year-old Finnish-born singer, who currently lives in Spain (after previously residing in both Finland and Argentina), told Chaoszine in a new interview that she decided to address her experience in order to raise awareness of the third leading cause of death for women.

“Luckily I was at home when it happened,” she said: “I just returned home from a U.S. tour. It was a quite difficult, demanding tour, and I felt like I was completely exhausted. Usually I am exhausted after tours — I need some days and really recovery time and all that. But I’m not 20 anymore — there is a change. Even though I’ve been always taking care of my body, physique and I feel like I’m in a good condition and all that, but still… I would have never thought that this kind of thing could happen to me, but it’s absolutely possible for anybody — and very common, actually, today for women, even in their 40s.

“I decided to talk about it now — I didn’t do it then — because I think it’s something very important to talk about. The awareness of this thing is important. So it was a shock for me, certainly.”

According to Tarja, it didn’t take very long for her to get over the physical effects of the stroke. “I didn’t suffer,” she said. “I was super lucky. I didn’t have any defects. Seriously, I was really lucky. And thank God I was at home; it happened at home. My husband saw what’s going on and he brought me to the hospital immediately. And they helped me, and it was all good. They did all that was necessary. They didn’t find out what was the cause of it; they didn’t find out that.

“I left the hospital after three days,” she continued. “I signed myself out and I said, ‘Okay, I have 22 concerts to do in Europe.’ And the doctor said, ‘No, you’re not going anywhere.’ But I had to — I had to. And I wanted to. I felt good.”

Tarja has just released her first book, “Singing In My Blood”, via Rocket 88. Written and compiled over the past year of lockdown, Tarja has searched through scores of photos and memories to create a big, deluxe book about her life in music. There are contributions from friends and colleagues who’ve played a part in her music on stage, in the studio and at home, alongside lots of previously unseen intimate photos from childhood to the present day.

Turunen was fired from NIGHTWISH at the end of the band’s 2005 tour by being presented with an open letter which was published on the NIGHTWISH web site at the same time. In the letter, the other members of NIGHTWISH wrote: “To you, unfortunately, business, money, and things that have nothing to do with emotions have become much more important.”

NIGHTWISH keyboardist and main songwriter Tuomas Holopainen later called the decision to part ways with Turunen “the most difficult thing I ever had to do.” For her part, Tarja said the way she was kicked out of the group proved that her former bandmates were not her friends. “Maybe one day I’ll forgive, but I will never forget,” she said.

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