The actress and gospel-influenced singer who found her greatest fame as Tess-the wise angel in the long-running television drama Touched by an Angel, died at age 86.
Reese’s co-star Roma Downey on Monday released a statement on behalf of the family on her Instagram page- “On behalf of her husband, Franklin Lett, and all her friends and family, I share with you the news that our beloved Della Reese has passed away peacefully at her California home last evening surrounded by love-“She was an incredible wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and pastor, as well as an award-winning actress and singer. “Through her life and work, she touched and inspired the lives of millions of people.
Reese had suffered from diabetes which was diagnosed some 17 years ago and so far no cause of death is given yet.
Born in Detroit, she was taught as a gospel singer and first found fame in the late 1950s and early 1960s with pop and jazz hits like “Don’t You Know.”
She had her own talk show “Della” – the first to be hosted by an African-American woman by 1969. She then landed roles in shows like “It Takes Two” and “Crazy like a Fox.”
But mainly she will be remembered because of her role, her biggest part as the sarcastic supervisor angel Tess on the supernatural CBS TV series “Touched by An Angel,” which ran for nine years until 2003.