Queen Latifah is saying goodbye to the person she loved the most.
Latifah’s mother, Rita Owens, died on Wednesday after struggling with a heart condition for more than a decade, she announced in a statement. She was 69.
“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news my mother, Rita Owens passed away today,” says Latifah.
“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.”
“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.”
Late Wednesday night, Latifah shared a video of a photograph of her mother with the caption, “143,” which means “I love you.”
In September, the Girl’s Trip actress opened up about her mother’s years-long battle.
“I’ve just learned how much you can love a person and just how strong my mother is,” she shared of her mother. “I’ve come to respect her in ways you can’t even imagine.”
Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently enough to meet the body’s needs.
Owens said in 2015 that proper medication, a defibrillator implanted in her chest to avert a heart attack and a diet low in salt and fats but heavy on vegetables enabled her to live with the condition.
“I watched her come through so many things, ups and downs, hospitalizations – I mean really being in the ICU for that matter – you know, going through tough times and watching her come back and bounce back and still maintain this sense of humour, and love and drive and will,” Latifah said of Owens.
“I just love her so much more, I respect her so much more. She really just gives me hope for life and the world.”