This week has brought heartbreaking news for Queen Latifah. On Wednesday, Latifah’s mother, Rita Owens, died after battling a heart condition for more than 10 years.
In a statement to People, Latifah shared the news, along with so many sweet words about what her mother has meant to her. It’s already clear that Owens, who was once a high school teacher, will be so missed by her daughter and by everyone who knew her.
“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news my mother, Rita Owens passed away today,” Latifah said in her statement. “Anyone that has ever met her knows what a bright light she was on this earth.”
Latifah also took to Instagram to share a photo of her mother:
According to Bustle, Latifah opened up about Owens’ heart failure back in 2015, in an ad for the American Heart Association which featured footage of Owens and Latifah and their mother/daughter bond.
Latifah called her mom the “strongest person I know” while encouraging those watching to take steps to keep their own hearts healthy.
According to People, Owens was diagnosed in 2004 after she fainted in her classroom. She treated her heart failure with a healthy diet, medication, and a defibrillator implanted in her chest, and during a 2015 interview with the magazine, Latifah revealed that when she’s not working, she lives with her mom as her caretaker in her New Jersey home.
“We’ve learned a new us,” Latifah said. “We’ve gotten a lot closer and we’ve learned each other on a whole different, deeper level … I will do whatever I can to make sure my mom is comfortable and has whatever she needs.”
Eventually, Owens also developed a lung condition, which required her to be on oxygen at all times.
This loss will certainly be a difficult one for Latifah, but it seems like she has so many great memories with her mother from the time they got to spend together.
Allan Bangirana is a freelance writer for Newslibre & Spur Magazine. He is passionate about tech, games and occasionally writes about entertainment, lifestyle and so much more.