Queen Latifah’s mother Rita Owens has passed away after battling a heart condition for more than a decade. "It is with a heavy heart that I share the news my mother, Rita Owens passed away today,” Latifah said in an exclusive statement to People. “Anyone that has ever met her knows what a bright light she was on this earth. She was gentle, but strong, sweet, but sassy, worldy but pragmatic, a woman of great faith and certainly the love of my life.”

“She had struggled with a heart condition for many years and her battle is now over,” Latifah added. “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." 

Owens dealt with heart failure, a "chronic, progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood through to meet the body's needs for blood and oxygen," according to the American Heart Association. In a 2015 interview with People, Latifah revealed that when she's not in California, she would go to her mother's New Jersey home to help tend to her. Those moments as caretaker helped Latifah realize that nothing was more important than family. 

“All the kind of frivolous things sort of fall to the side because there’s something way more important than all that," she said. "And when we go through these things together as a family, I realize, these are the important things, these are the important moments.”