Elvis actress Shonka Dukureh's cause of death revealed

Shonka Dukureh, an actress and singer, made her big-screen debut this year in Baz Luhrmann's Elvis. Sadly, she died not long after the movie came out.

Her death at age 44 was a surprise, and now we know what caused it. The office of the Davidson County Medical Examiner in Tennessee says that Dukureh died of natural causes.

A representative for the medical examiner's office told the Los Angeles Times and other news outlets that the official cause of death was "hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease."

Dukureh was found dead in the bedroom of the Nashville apartment she shared with her two young children on the morning of July 21.

One of her kids found her unresponsive and ran to a neighbor's apartment to call 911. "Shonka's great talent was just starting to reach a wider audience, and

I got to see her lift up whole crowds of people at Coachella and elsewhere," Luhrmann wrote of Dukureh after she died. "Shonka's favourite word, which she used every day,

was 'blessings,' and I, along with the rest of the Elvis cast, crew, and musicians who worked with her, consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have known her."

Dukureh's first film was Elvis, in which she played Big Mama Thornton, the famous R&B singer-songwriter who first recorded "Hound Dog.

She was born in Nashville. She was also in the music video for Doja Cat's "Vegas," from the Elvis soundtrack, earlier this year.

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