Della Reese Dies; Touched by an Angel Actress Was 86

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Beloved TV star, Della Reese, passed away on Sunday evening. 

She was 86 years old. 

Della Reese

She leaves behind children James, Franklin, and Dominique, as well as husband, Franklin Lett.

"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 surrounded by love," Reese's former Touched by an Angel co-star, Roma Downey, shared on Instagram.

"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."

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"She was a mother to me and I had the privilege of working with her side by side for so many years on Touched By An Angel."

"I know heaven has a brand new angel this day. Della Reese will be forever in our hearts. Rest In Peace, sweet angel. We love you," the emotional statement concluded. 

Reese was a gospel and R&B singer who hosted a daytime talk show from 1969-1970. She moved to acting after that and appeared on hits such as

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MacGyver, The Royal Family, Designing Women, Picket Fences, That’s So Raven, The Young and the Restless. Her most significant role was on Touched by an Angel in which she starred with Downey.

Reese's most recent TV role was on Hallmark's Signed, Sealed, Delivered. 

“For nine years, we were privileged to have Della as part of the CBS family when she delivered encouragement and optimism to millions of viewers as Tess on ‘Touched By An Angel,’ ” CBS said.

“We will forever cherish her warm embraces and generosity of spirit. She will be greatly missed. Another angel has gotten her wings.”

We extend our thoughts and prayers to Della's friends and family at this difficult time. 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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