‘Touched by an Angel’ Icon Della Reese Dies at Age 86 — Read The Statement
Hollywood has lost another great — icon Della Reese has passed away at the age of 86.
The singer-turned-actress died on Sunday night, but her family and friends, as well as some famous contemporaries, are honoring her legacy already.
The 86-year-old, known most recently for her role on Touched by an Angel, was found dead at her California home on November 20, Variety reports.
The news was first announced via Roma Downey, Della's co-star on the CBS show.
“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,” she said in a statement.
“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.”
The icon leaves behind quite a legacy.
After a slew of pop hits spanning contemporary pop, jazz, and gospel genres in the '50s, '60s and '70s — that earned her four Grammy nods, BTW — Della made the foray into TV and acting.
In fact, in 1969 she became the first African-American woman to get her own talk show — sorry, Oprah! — titled Della.
She landed a slew of acting roles throughout the '70s and '80s, including in Eddie Murphy film Harlem Nights, before landing her career-changing role as Tess in Touched by an Angel in 1994.
Though CBS initially canceled the show after one season of poor ratings, a fan-fronted campaign eventually brought the series back for an additional eight seasons.
As a result of the show, Della won "seven consecutive NAACP Image Awards as best lead actress in a drama and... two Emmy nominations and a 1998 Golden Globe nod," according to Variety.
In fact, the network released a statement of its own when news of her death broke, touting her as a "generous spirit."
"For nine years, we were privileged to have Della as part of the CBS family when she delivered encouragement and optimism to millions of viewers as Tess on Touched By An Angel, ” CBS said.
“We will forever cherish her warm embraces and generosity of spirit. She will be greatly missed. Another angel has gotten her wings.”
Roma, as well as other celebs, have paid tribute to the Detroit native, posting sweet photos and memories on social media:
Rest in peace, Della Reese!