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Actress who played Big Mama Thornton in 'Elvis' dies in Nashville

Shonka Dukureh was found dead Thursday in the bedroom of her Nashville apartment. No foul play is evident in her death.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Shonka Dukureh, the actress who played Big Mama Thornton in 'Elvis', died Thursday in Nashville.

According to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, Dukureh, 44, a Fisk University graduate, was found dead in the bedroom of her Kothe Way apartment.  

She shared the apartment with her two young children. One of the children found her unresponsive and went to the apartment of a neighbor, who called 911 shortly before 9:30 a.m., police said. 

According to police, no foul play is evident in her death. Autopsy results are pending from the medical examiner. 

The actress, who also shared the stage at Coachella this year with Doja Cat, had a theater degree from Fisk and graduated from Trevecca Nazarene with an education degree, WPLN-FM reported.

In an interview with the station last month, Dukureh said she taught second grade for a while and then worked with inner city youth through after-school and summer programs.

She said those students reached out after seeing her in 'Elvis.'

ABC24 recently sat down with Dukureh to talk about her role in the movie.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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