By Victor Ochieng
Posted May 9th 2018
After struggling with heart disease for more than 10 years, Rita Owens, the mother of actress and hip-hop legend Queen Latifah finally bowed out of the race.
Latifah took to social media where she shared the news about the death of her mother, her closest confidante.
“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news my mother, Rita Owens passed,” Latifah wrote. “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.”
Latifah also spoke about her mother’s struggle, mentioning that her death now saves her from continued pain.
“She had struggled with a heart condition for many years and her battle is now over,” Latifah shares. “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.”
Owens raised her daughter Latifah in Newark, New Jersey, where she used to work as a school teacher. Later on, she started making cameo appearances in some of her daughter’s projects.
The two worked together in the “Rise Above Heart Failure” Initiate on behalf of the American Heart Association. In the campaign, they were raising awareness about heart conditions, where Owens also shared her personal story and tips on how to deal with the disease.
“My HF diagnosis was unexpected,” Owens wrote. “But with the support of my family and healthcare provider team, I learned all I could about the condition. I want to help others who are living with HF, or are helping care for someone who has HF, feel empowered to manage the condition.”
It was in September when Latifah first came forward to talk about her mother’s struggle with heart disease.
“I’ve just learned how much you can love a person and just how strong my mother is,” she shared of her mother during a sit-down with PEOPLE Now. “I’ve come to respect her in ways you can’t even imagine.”
May Owens’ soul rest in peace.