'Touched By An Angel' Actress Della Reese Dies (Video)

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'Touched By An Angel' Actress Della Reese Dies (Video) Promo Image

Singer and actress Della Reese has passed away at 86 years of age.

Reese, who is perhaps best known as wise angel Tess from TV series "Touched By an Angel," reportedly died on the evening of Nov. 19 in her Los Angeles home, according to Daily Mail. 

Series co-star Roma Downey eulogized Reese in a statement to People that she also used as a caption on Instagram:

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.

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. Rest in peace, sweet angel. We love you.

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There is no public information regarding the cause of death, though she suffered a host of health problems as she aged.

The "Don’t You Know?" singer struggled with diabetes, which she attributed to a poor diet and lack of exercise. In 2002, she collapsed while filming "Touched By an Angel," and in 1979 she was hospitalized for a brain aneurysm that struck during a taping of "The Tonight Show," notes Variety. She underwent two brain surgeries afterward.

Reese retired from acting in 2014.

CBS said in a statement that Reese "delivered encouragement and optimism to millions" in her nine years playing the role of Tess.

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"We're deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Della Reese," reads the statement, according to People. "She was a multi-talented, award-winning performer who shined brightly on soundstages and in concert halls … We will forever cherish her warm embraces and generosity of spirit. She will be greatly missed. Another angel has gotten her wings."

Reese worked professionally for years as a gospel- and jazz-inspired singer before venturing into the world of acting. In addition to playing the iconic character Tess, who inspired many and provided comic relief on "Touched By an Angel," Reese also appeared on shows including "The Mod Squad," "The Love Boat," "Sanford and Son," "MacGyver," "Night Court" and "The Young and the Restless."

Sources: Romadowney/Instagram, Daily Mail, People, Variety / Featured Image: Don LaVange/Flickr / Embedded Images: Sharon Graphics/Flickr, Good Free Photos

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