New York Daily News: MANHATTAN, NY – Mary Wilson, an original member of the wildly popular singing group, The Supremes, has died at the age of 76.
The singer’s longtime publicist, Jay Schwartz, confirmed to CNN that she “passed away suddenly” in her Las Vegas home Monday evening, but did not provide further details.
Alongside Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, Wilson, who grew up in a housing project in Detroit, co-founded The Supremes at the age of just 15 years old. The trailblazing 1960s Motown group, now viewed as instrumental in the record company’s popularity, released countless hit songs including “Stop! In the Name of Love” and “Back in My Arms Again.”
“I was extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of a major member of the Motown family, Mary Wilson. The Supremes were always known as the ‘Sweethearts of Motown,’” Berry Gordy, founder of the Motown record label, said in a statement.
“Mary, along with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, came to Motown in the early 1960s. After an unprecedented string of No. 1 hits, television and nightclub bookings, they opened the doors for themselves, the other Motown acts and many, many, others.”
Gordy added: “She was a trailblazer, a diva and will be deeply missed.”
Wilson appeared on all 12 of the Supremes’ No. 1 pop hits between 1964 and 1969. In the same time frame, their act charted a total of 16 Top 10 pop singles and 19 Top 10 R&B 45s, according to the Rolling Stones. She continued on with the group after Ross’ departure in 1970, though Wilson would also eventually go on to pursue a solo career of her own.
“I just woke up to this news,” Ross wrote in a tweet early Tuesday. “I am reminded that each day is a gift, I have so many wonderful memories of our time together.
In 1988, The Supremes were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Little Richard, who exclaimed that “there’s never been anything like them.”
Wilson had also been working her way back into the spotlight over the last several years. In 2019, she appeared on “Dancing with the Stars” 28th season and released her fourth book, “Supreme Glamour.”
Just two days prior to her death, the crooner released a video on her YouTube channel, revealing her plans to work with Universal Music to put out solo material, including the unreleased album “Red Hot,” which she recorded in the 1970s with producer Gus Dudgeon.
“Hopefully some of that will be out on my birthday, March 6th,” she said in the clip.
The famous singer also promised to provide upcoming interviews she had done about The Supremes’ experiences with segregation. She said they were slated for release in the near future in honor of Black History Month.
- Top Feature Photo: Mary Wilson, a former member of The Supremes, is escorted after singing the national anthem before a baseball game in Detroit. Wilson died in Las Vegas, publicist Jay Schwartz told KABC-TV. When she died and other details weren’t immediately clear. She was 76 – Carlos Osorio/AP