On Thursday, actress Queen Latifah revealed the sad passing of her mother.
"It is with a heavy heart that I share the news my mother, Rita Owens passed away today," said the legendary singer. "She had struggled with a heart condition for many years and her battle is now over."
The rapper and actress, best known for her role in "The Secret Life of Bees," "Chicago," and "Beauty Shop," shared the ways that her mother has blessed her life.
Latifah's mother passed away only three days after he daughter's birthday. Queen Latifah turned 48 on March 18th.
She said of her mother, "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."
Owens had reportedly been taking medications for heart disease, and she had a defibrillator implanted in her chest to prevent heart attacks. She also had to maintain an incredibly healthy diet to live with the condition.
Latifah is absolutely devastated by her mother's passing.
“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 September, the actress opened up about her mother's years-long battle with cancer.
“I’ve just learned how much you can love a person and just how strong my mother is,” she shared of her mother during an interview with PEOPLE. “I’ve come to respect her in ways you can’t even imagine.”
“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 humor, and love and drive and will,” Latifah said of Owens, according to People. “I just love her so much more, I respect her so much more. She really just gives me hope for life and the world.”