Queen Latifah’s mother dies after battle with heart failure

Queen Latifah and her mother Rita Owens attend Lifetime Network Steel Magnolias’ premiere event in New York, Oct. 3, 2012.

(Photo: Reuters)

Queen Latifah’s mother, Rita Owens, died on Wednesday after battling a heart condition.

The actress and musician, announced Owens’ death in a statement to People.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news of my mother, Rita Owens passed away today. Anyone who has ever met her knows what a bright light she was on earth,” Latifah said. “She was soft but strong, sweet but sassy, the world of the[l]y, but pragmatic, a woman of great faith and certainly the love of my life.

Latifah, whose real name is Dana Owens, said her mother struggled with a heart condition for many years.

The statement does not give her mother her age or where she died.

The star shared a video Wednesday of a picture of her mother with the caption “143,” which means “I love you.”


A post shared by Queen Latifah (@queenlatifah) on Mar 21, 2018 at 8:40 PDT

Owens’ death comes after more than a decade with her chronic condition. Latifah and her mother became spokeswomen for heart failure after they have participated in a “Rise Above failure” PSA for the American Heart Association in 2015. Latifah continues to work with the organization over the years.

“My mother is stronger than anyone I’ve ever known,” Latifah says in the PSA. “Growing up, when life had been, her strength helped pull us through. Even after her heart failure diagnosis, she remains stronger than ever.”

In that same year, Latifah opened up to People about being a caregiver to her sick mother.

“As a caregiver – it’s just like a older, just as some things really don’t matter,” Latifah said. “All kind of nonsensical things sort of fall to the side, because there is something much more important than that. And when we go through these things together as a family, I realize, that are the important things, these are the important moments.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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