Della Reese
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Della Reese, ‘Touched By an Angel’ Star, Dead at 86

Della Reese, a musical legend who went on to star in the television series “Touched By an Angel,” passed away on Sunday. She was 86.

In a statement to PEOPLE, her longtime co-star Roma Downey confirmed her passing, saying, “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 transitioned from jazz singer to television star in the 1960s, appearing on shows like “The Mod Squad,” “Sandford and Son,” and “Night Court.”

Reese was nominated for a Golden Globe and two Emmys for her role as Tess on “Touched By an Angel,” which ran from 1994 until 2003.