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Della Reese, ‘Touched by an Angel’ star and singer, dead at 86

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Della Reese (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Della Reese, singer and popular TV actress on “Touched by an Angel” and other shows, died Sunday night at her home in California, according to Variety. She was 86.

“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,” actress Roma Downey, Reese’s co-star on “Touched By an Angel,” said in a statement obtained by Variety announcing Reese’s death. “She was a mother to me and I had the privilege of working with her side by side for so many years on ‘Touched by an Angel.’ I know heaven has a brand new angel this day. Della Reese will be forever in our hearts.”

Reese was born Delloreese Patricia Early on July 6, 1931. Her long career began as a singer and she appeared on the popular TV show “Touched by an Angel” from 1994 to 2003. She also appeared in several other TV shows and films.

Reese is survived by her husband Franklin Lett, a film producer and concert promoter.