After living with a heart condition for over 10 years, Queen Latifah’s mother — Rita Owens — has passed away. The “U.N.I.T.Y.” legend confirmed the news in a statement to People Magazine on Wednesday (March 21).
“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news my mother, Rita Owens passed away today,” her statement read. “Anyone that has ever met her knows what a bright light she was on this earth. She was gentle, but strong, sweet, but sassy, worldly but pragmatic, a woman of great faith and certainly the love of my life.”
She continued, “She had struggled with a heart condition for many years and her battle is now over. I am heart broken but know she is at peace. Thank you for your kindness, support and respect for our privacy at this time.”
On Monday (March 20), the illustrious actress/MC eluded to a decline in her mother’s health with an Instagram video thanking her fans for support.
“Words can’t to the express on the gratitude that I feel for the love and well wishes from friends family and all of you out there who just got love for the Queen!” she wrote. “But just know in the words of my brother Tupac, You are appreciated! Also please continue to send prayers up to my moms speedy recovery! GOD CAN!!!”
Words can’t to the express on the gratitude that I feel for the love and well wishes from friends family and all of you out there who just got love for the Queen! But just know in the words of my brother Tupac, You are appreciated! Also please continue to send prayers up to my moms speedy recovery! GOD CAN!!! ❤😊
Owens, who was diagnosed with heart failure in 2004, was able to live with the condition for the past 14 years by taking the proper medication and adhering to a strict low sodium and low fat diet. She also had a defibrillator implanted in her chest to avert a heart attack.
Tributes have started to roll in on social media, including one from Missy Elliott who said Owens treated her “like family.”
Check out the posts below.
My condolences to my sis @IAMQUEENLATIFAH I know how close you & Mama Owens were we always talked about our moms & my 1st time meeting her she treated me like family I know this hit so hard😞i lift you up in Prayer for strength🙏🏾 you are loved❤️ #RitaOwens rest peacefully🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/RTKjbihePO
— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) March 22, 2018
I’m so sorry @queenlatifah to hear that we have to say goodbye to your beautiful mom today. I so love ‘Aunt Rita Rita Rita’ What a lovely graceful, joyful Grand Lady. My heart is with you and the rest of your family 😞 https://t.co/5pCz0isU90 pic.twitter.com/ZIZHZE8Etp
— Kim Coles (@kimcoles) March 22, 2018
— The New FERRARI SHEPPARD (@stopbeingfamous) March 22, 2018