Della Reese dies aged 86

Singer Della Reese seen at a Salvation Army event in Los Angeles in 2015 has died at the age of 86

Della Reese dies aged 86

"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", her co-star Roma Downey told People.

Gospel and jazz singer and actress Della Reese - co-star of the long-running CBS series "Touched by an Angel - passed away at her Los Angeles home on Sunday, Nov. 19, at the age of 86. Another angel has gotten her wings". She followed it up with "Don't You Know?" - which would become her signature song, and a string of hits including "Not One Minute More, "And Now", "Someday (You'll Want Me to Want You)", and "The Most Beautiful Words".

The first season brought mediocre ratings, but slowly the CBS show's audience grew until it became one of television's highest-rated dramas.

"I was exhausted of the road, and doing TV meant I could stay home", she told the New York Times in 1998.

She earned acclaim as an actor, with drama series "Touched by an Angel", which premiered in 1994.

Reese's singing career began in church, when she joined the junior gospel choir at the Olivet Baptist Church in her hometown of Detroit.

When Mahalia Jackson, known as The Queen of Gospel Music, came to Detroit, she needed a singer to replace a member of her troupe.

A recording contract followed, and she quickly turned out two hits, "And That Reminds Me" and "Don't You Know?"

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In Touched by an Angel, Reese plays Tess, a sarcastic angel boss who is a maternal figure to Downey's apprentice guardian angel. She became a familiar face on the small screen, securing guest spots on a host of shows, including The Mod Squad, The Love Boat, Sanford and Son, MacGyver, Night Court, and The Young and the Restless. She was predeceased by her daughter Delloreese Daniels in 2002.

Her left knee buckled and she fell to the floor, having suffered a brain aneurysm.

"I'm trying not to believe it's because I'm black, 'cause I was black when they hired me", Reese said at the time.

After previous marriages ended, Reese was Wednesday to Franklin Lett, who became her manager and producer.

In 1969, Reese had her own variety series, Della, but it was canceled shortly thereafter.

"I've had a hard climb, but I was meant to have longevity", she once said.

Today the entertainment world lost the iconic actress, Della Reese.

The singer was married to Franklin Thomas Lett and the couple has three children James, Franklin and Dominique.

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