An iconic founding member of The Supremes has unfortunately passed away.
Jay Schwartz, a publicist, and friend of Motown singer Mary Wilson, confirmed that she died Monday night at her home in Las Vegas. The cause was not immediately clear, she was 76-years-old.
Wilson is survived by her daughter, son, several grandchildren, a sister, and brother. The songstress’ career began in Detroit in 1959 in a group called “The Primettes” that evolved into The Supremes, Motown’s most successful group of the 1960s.
Originally comprised of Wilson, THEE Diana Ross, and Florence Ballard before Ballard was replaced by Cindy Birdsong in 1967, The Supremes scored 12 number one singles including “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Baby Love,” and “Stop! In the name of Love.”
Diana Ross has since reacted to Wilson’s death on Twitter and she’s sending well wishes to her fellow Supreme’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,” wrote Diana.
Berry Gordy has released a statement on Wilson’s passing praising her for being a pioneer while noting that The Supremes were the “sweethearts of Motown.”
“I was extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of a major member of the Motown family, Mary Wilson of the Supreme,” said Berry Gordy in a statement Monday night. “The Supremes were always known as the ‘sweethearts of Motown.’ Mary, along with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, came to Motown in the early 1960s. After an unprecedented string of No. 1 hits, television and nightclub bookings, they opened doors for themselves, the other Motown acts, and many, many others. … I was always proud of Mary. She was quite a star in her own right and over the years continued to work hard to boost the legacy of the Supremes. Mary Wilson was extremely special to me. She was a trailblazer, a diva, and will be deeply missed.”
Just two days ago Mary Wilson released a YouTube video announcing that she was releasing solo material ahead of her birthday on March 6.
R.I.P. Mary Wilson, condolences to her family.