Queen Latifah IG

Rita Owens mother of Hip-hop legend Queen Latifah has passed away yesterday (March 21) due to a long bout with a heart condition. Owens, has been a very visible force in the Emmy winner’s life.

Latifah issued an official statement to PEOPLE about her death. “It is with a heavy heart that I share the news my mother, Rita Owens passed away today,” Latifah said. “Anyone that has ever met her knows what a bright light she was on this earth. She was gentle, but strong, sweet, but sassy, worldly but pragmatic, a woman of great faith and certainly the love of my life.”

She continued: “She had struggled with a heart condition for many years and her battle is now over. 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.”

Latifah posted a tribute to her mother on Instagram, which read “143,” which means, “I love you.”