Queen Latifah’s Mother, Rita Owens, Has Died After Her Years-Long Battle With Heart Failure

by Jessica Lane

March 21, 2018

Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage

On Wednesday, March 21, Queen Latifah lost her mother Rita Owens. In a statement to People, she announced her mother passed away after a years-long battle with heart failure.

Rita Owens was a teacher and eventually became an actress in her own right, appearing alongside her daughter in Living Single, The Cookout and The Cookout II. When her daughter received an award, you would frequently see them arm-in-arm smiling brightly and dazzling the red carpet.

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 03: Queen Latifah and mom Rita Owens attend VH1’s “Dear Mama” Taping at St. Bartholomew’s Church on May 3, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/FilmMagic)

In her statement, Queen Latifah had this to say about her mother’s legacy: “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 of great faith and certainly the love of my life.”

Queen Latifah and Rita Owens during Queen Latifah Honored With a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Her Achievements in Film at Hollywood in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)

Latifah has been open about her mother’s heart condition. Her mother’s heart cannot effectively pump blood throughout her body. She relied on medication, a surgically-placed defibrillator and a strict low fat/low salt diet. Through it all, she watched her mother struggle, yet, never lose her grace, her sense of humor or her will to live.

In 2015, Latifah shared that she also served as her mother’s caretaker, along with her nurse and other relatives. She would frequently go back home to New Jersey to stay with her mother.

“As a caregiver – it’s just like being a parent, like some things really don’t matter…all the kind of frivolous things sort of fall to the side because there’s something way more important than all that,” Latifah said.

Latifah has been by her mother’s side – caring for her, loving her and cheering her own as she faced each and every obstacle. Now, the battle is over and her mom never has to fight again.

Latifah had these final words: “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.”


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