Mary Wilson, one of the founding members of The Supremes, has died. The artist passed away on Monday (Feb. 8) night at 76-years-old.
According to her publicist and friend Jay Schwartz, her death came as a sudden shock and surprise. Schwartz confirmed the artist’s passing to Access Hollywood on Tuesday (Feb. 9). Wilson’s family is currently planning her funeral. But it will be a private affair due to COVID-19 restrictions, according to a statement.
The statement reads, “Services will be private due to Covid restrictions. A celebration of Mary Wilson’s life will take place later this year. The family asks in lieu of flowers. That friends and fans support UNCF.org and the Humpty Dumpty Institute.”
Wilson’s fellow singer Diana Ross spoke out on Twitter and mourned her death. She wrote, “I just woke up to this news, my condolences to you Mary’s family, I am reminded that each day is a gift, I have so many wonderful memories of our time together ‘The Supremes’ will live on, in our hearts.”
Mary Wilson Was a Founding Member of The Supremes
Wilson first rose to prominence as one of the singers for the Supremes during the 1960s. The original lineup consisted of Wilson, Diana Ross, Betty McGlown, and Florence Ballard. Both McGlown and Ballard have passed during the years since as well. The Supremes went under the name The Primettes when they first formed as a musical group.
While all four performed on stage, only Ross, Ballard, and Wilson led the studio albums. As a result, Wilson became a star and a part of one of Motown’s brightest acts. With songs like “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Stop! In The Name of Love” and “Baby Love,” the Supremes became a national sensation. Their act helped break down barriers for black artists and musicians into mainstream appeal.
“Their influence not only carries on in contemporary R&B, soul and pop, they also helped pave the way for mainstream success by Black artists across all genres,” the statement read.
Besides her music and singing, Wilson also became known for her charitable works. For instance, Wilson raised funds and promoted awareness for HIV and AIDS as well as trying to end world hunger. Wilson also starred in Season 28 of “Dancing with The Stars” and was a published author as well. One of her most recent books chronicled her career in the Supremes during the 1960s.