Tears and prayers outside Tina Turner's tranquil Swiss home

"Someone like this should live forever," said one of Tina Turner's neighbours as she laid flowers outside the rock legend's home in Switzerland on Thursday.

Barbara Burkhalter was among a steady stream of people who left cards and messages outside Turner's chateau on Lake Zurich, where the 83-year-old queen of rock had lived for nearly three decades.

Turner's death on Wednesday sparked tributes from world leaders and fellow rock icons -- but also from her neighbours in the plush Zurich suburb of Kuesnacht, where the star lived a quiet life.

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"I brought flowers and a little card. I really had to come," said Burkhalter, 69.

"We don't hear your voice any more but it's still inside my heart."

"She was my favourite... We loved that she was here but we would never have bothered her."

- 'Rest in power' -

Large bouquets and individual flowers from well-wishers' gardens were building up by the chateau gates, along with candles, cards and handwritten messages to the US-born superstar, including one saying "Rest in power."

Besides her soaring vocals and magnetic stage presence, Turner's overcoming of domestic violence touched many around the world.

Well-wisher Guia Greaves said she was known locally as a kind person and a good neighbour, discreet and unassuming.

"I don't know how many times I passed here while listening to her songs and said 'Hey, Tina!'," Greaves told AFP.

"And I really admire what she symbolised for domestic violence: the way she blossomed with no hate.

"We have now the treasure of her music and we have to keep listening to it."

- 'She was so strong' -

Turner moved to Switzerland in 1995 with her longtime partner Erwin Bach, 67. Some left flowers addressed to the German producer.

The chateau grounds have immaculately-manicured hedges and huge colourful bushes in pink and blue hues.

The turreted three-storey white house, which backs onto Lake Zurich, is shielded from the road by towering trees.

"Her music became part of my life as a teenager and got me thinking about what we make of this life," said Bryan Mackie, 29.

"My girlfriend is an even bigger fan than me. She's so sad; I brought the flowers for her. She brought passion for the music."

One man kneeled and blew three kisses towards the chateau; a woman tenderly touched the gates after laying flowers, while another woman said prayers in Italian.

One woman, who had already visited overnight, stood in tears at the gates.

- 'Beautiful soul' -

Andrea Brunetti, 47, an Italian IT worker who lives in Lucerne, left a rose with a love heart.

"She's the most beautiful woman in the last 200 years. She's really a treasure. She's more than an artist: she's a beautiful soul," he said.

"She always gave 110 percent until the end. Some people will never die. Thank-you Tina, for everything you gave to the people."

Jerika Seiler, 48, who met Turner many times in local restaurants over the past 20 years, lit a candle.

The fashion designer said that one time while driving into her chateau, Turner "opened the window and said 'Hi!' and smiled. I was shouting for happiness!"

"I went to three (of her) concerts. I just started reading her book a few years ago and any time I see her film I always cry," she said.

"She was so strong. Her message for life, I will miss it. She was great in every way. She will always be simply the best."