Queen Latifah’s mother Rita Owens has died after a decade-long struggle with heart failure. She was 69.
“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news my mother, Rita Owens passed away today,” Latifah said in heartfelt statement to her fans. “Anyone that has ever met her knows what a bright light she was on this earth. She was gentle, but strong, sweet, but sassy, worldy but pragmatic, a woman great faith and certainly the love my life."
“She had struggled with a heart condition for many years and her battle is now over,” she continues. “I am heartbroken but know she is at peace. Thank you for your kindness, support and respect for our privacy at this time. Much Love, Dana Owens (aka Queen Latifah), forever Rita Owens’ daughter.”
According to People, Queen’s mother began experiencing symptoms heart failure in 2004. She was able to manage the condition for so long due to proper medication, a chest defibrillator and healthy diet low in salts and fats.
Latifah and her mother would later work with the American Heart Association and launch the “Rise Above Heart Failure” initiative, to help bring awareness about heart failure and how to avoid hospitalization. Since Owens' diagnosis, Latifah has been caring for her mom along with a nurse's aide.
"I've just learned how much you can love a person and just how strong my mother is. I've come to respect her in ways you can't even imagine," Latifah told the magazine. "As a caregiver, it's just like being a parent, like some things really don't matter."
"All the kind frivolous things sort fall to the side because there's something way more important than all that," she continue. "And when we go through these things together as a family, I realize, these are the important things, these are the important moments."
We want to send our heartfelt condolences to Queen Latifah and her family. May Rita Owens rest eternally in peace.