Queen Latifah’s Mom, Rita Owens, Dies After a Long Battle With a Heart Condition

Queen Latifah and her mother, Rita Owens, attend taping of VH1's “Dear Mama” Mother’s Day special at St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City on May 3, 2016.
Photo: Greg Allen (Invision/AP)

Queen Latifah’s mom, Rita Owens, died Wednesday after a 10-year battle with heart disease, the legendary rapper and actress said.

In a statement to People magazine, Latifah wrote:

It is with a heavy heart that I share the news my mother, Rita Owens, passed away today. 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.

She had struggled with a heart condition for many years and her battle is now over. 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.


In 2016, Latifah (who was born Dana Owens) and her mother filmed a public service announcement for the American Heart Association as part of the organization’s Rise Above Heart Failure campaign:

Thank you, Mrs. Owens, for raising a queen. Rest in power.

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Genetta M. Adams

Genetta M. Adams is Managing Editor of The Root.