Rest in peace, Della Reese. The singer and Touched By an Angel star sadly died at age 86 on Sunday, Nov. 19, her former co-star Roma Downey confirmed to People. "On behalf of her husband, Franklin Lett, and all her friends and family, I share with you the news that our beloved Della Reese has passed away peacefully at her California home last evening surrounded by love. She was an incredible wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and pastor, as well as an award-winning actress and singer. Through her life and work, she touched and inspired the lives of millions of people," Roma said in a statement.
Della in 1963. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
"She was a mother to me and I had the privilege of working with her side by side for so many years on Touched By an Angel. I know heaven has a brand new angel this day. Della Reese will be forever in our hearts. Rest In Peace, sweet angel. We love you," Roma concluded her message, published on Monday, Nov. 20. Della is survived by three children, James Reese, Franklin Reese, and Dominique Reese, and her husband, Franklin. She was additionally a mother to daughter Deloreese Daniels Owens, who passed away in 2002.
Della and Roma in 2013. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Della's six-decade-long showbiz career began in the late 1950s when she released her hit single "Don't You Know?" In the 1960s, she hosted her own daytime talk show titled Della but the program ended after 197 episodes. Throughout the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, Della starred in several popular movies including Harlem Nights, A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, and Expecting Mary. In 1994, she landed her most-beloved role as Tess on the TV drama Touched by an Angel, which ran until 2003. Our thoughts are with Della's family and friends during this sad time.