Queen Latifah in addition to her late mother, Rita Owens, were great advocates in raising awareness for heart disease through the years.
Owens, a brand new Jersey resident in addition to teacher, was diagnosed with heart disease in 2004. Things worsened when she collapsed while working one day, in addition to by then on, she had to change her lifestyle. Unfortunately on Wednesday, the Girls Trip star broke the sad news that will her mother had passed away after struggling with the heart condition for more than a decade.
“that will is actually which has a heavy heart that will I share the news my mother, Rita Owens, passed away today,” Latfiah said in a statement. “Anyone that will has ever met her knows what a bright light she was on This particular earth. She was gentle, nevertheless strong, sweet, nevertheless sassy, worldly nevertheless pragmatic, a woman of great faith in addition to certainly the love of my life.”
The mother-daughter’s efforts in raising awareness about heart disease are significant. Back in 2015, ET’s Cameron Mathison sat down with Latifah in addition to her mother to discuss Owen’s condition in addition to their involvement with the American Heart Association.
“As you know, that will affects your life personally, that will affects my life personally, in addition to that will will affect one in 5 Americans, in addition to that will number is actually way too high,” Latifah said. “So when the American Heart Association came to me with This particular idea of the Rise Above Heart Failure movement, to turn This particular into an actual movement, to make people aware of that will, why could I not want to get involved in that will? nevertheless first, I spoke to my mother about that will, in addition to that will was definitely about whether she wanted to be involved. in addition to if she wanted to be involved, I could be with that will.”
“She’s always been about empowering people by sharing her story,” the singer in addition to actress added. “If her story could help someone else, or sharing information to help someone else, that will’s why that will was definitely important for us to do that will.”
As far as that will scary moment when she collapsed at work, Owens joked at the time that will she “trained [her] students well” to help her.
“They did all the right things. They got help to me very quickly,” Owens explained. “Emergency room doctors — in addition to thank god for doctors — I found out at the hospital that will I had congestive heart failure. Never entered my mind.”
For Latifah, that will was something she wasn’t expecting to hear.
“Obviously that will’s a terrifying thing to hear your mom took a dive in class. She just passed out,” she said. “Well, what’s going on is actually my first [thought], just get to the hospital, in addition to find out what’s going on. nevertheless she was awake in addition to aware in addition to they commenced doing all these tests. I was not expecting to hear that will diagnosis, nevertheless at the same time, I could tell something was different. Something was a little off with my mom. She didn’t possess the same amount of energy in addition to sort of zeal in addition to zest for what she normally does.”
“So getting This particular diagnosis in addition to understanding some of the symptoms of that will, that will all commenced to make sense,” Latifah continued. “in addition to definitely, just us talking to the doctors in addition to figuring out what that will was in addition to kinda going back in time, we were able to put together that will This particular was something that will had been affecting her for a while. We just didn’t realize.”
Additionally, after hearing about her mother’s heath struggles, the Star actress flew her across the country to be closer.
“that will’s important. I am a part of her life in that will sense in addition to make sure she’s OK. At the time, [I was] planning to do a talk show [in addition to] there’s no way I could be in brand new Jersey in addition to be in L.A. at the same time,” she explained. “in addition to I was definitely concerned. We moved the whole family out, my cousin was there in addition to This particular is actually something she was agreeable to.”
“I almost feel guilty,” laughed Owens. “I’m supposed to be the mommy. in addition to somehow, she’s the mommy currently.”
Meanwhile in 2016, the two also partnered up for a special American Heart Association Mother’s Day message.
“I can’t imagine my life without my mom,” Latifah says inside the clip. “My mom is actually the strongest person I know, in addition to she’s committed to rising about heart failure.”
The two continued to raise awareness anytime they could. In 2017, Latifah was honored with American Heart Association Woman of Distinction Award for outstanding dedication to heart failure awareness.
“My mom means everything to me, in addition to I am excited to dedicate This particular award to her,” Latifah said at the time. “For my entire life, she has been my rock. When she was diagnosed with heart failure, I didn’t think twice before stepping up as her caregiver. that will wasn’t an easy process, nevertheless I trust that will our experiences can empower in addition to inspire others who are also living with heart failure.”
For more on Queen Latifah in addition to her mother, watch below.