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Mary Wilson Of Iconic Music Group, The Supremes, Dies At 76

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Mary Wilson, a founding member of the iconic music group, The Supremes, has died at 76.

The legendary singer, best known for co-founding the group at 15 alongside Diana Ross and Florence Ballard in Detroit, died suddenly at her home in Las Vegas on Monday, February 8.

The Supremes: Mary Wilson (centre) with Florence Ballard (left) and Diana Ross (right), circa 1960 CREDIT: MICHAEL OCHS ARCHIVES.
The Supremes: Mary Wilson (centre) with Florence Ballard (left) and Diana Ross (right), circa 1960 CREDIT: MICHAEL OCHS ARCHIVES.

Mary stayed with Motown Records trio until its dissolution in 1977, according to The Mirror.

Her long-term publicist, Jay Schwartz confirmed her death to Fox and disclosed that Wilson’s funeral service will be held privately in accordance with current health and safety guidelines.

He also said a public memorial will be scheduled for later in the year but did not state the cause of Mary’s death.

Paying tribute to Mary in a statement on Monday night, February 8, Motown founder Berry Gordy said;

A trailblazer, a diva and will be deeply missed. I was extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of a major member of the Motown family, Mary Wilson of the Supremes.

The Supremes were always known as the “sweethearts of Motown.” 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 doors for themselves, the other Motown acts, and many, many others. I was always proud of Mary.

She was quite a star in her own right and over the years continued to work hard to boost the legacy of the Supremes. Mary Wilson was extremely special to me. She was a trailblazer, a diva and will be deeply missed.

The music group were known for a string of hits including “Stop! In the Name of Love” and “Back in My Arms Again”. They were inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Little Richard in 1988.

Mary married former Supremes manager Pedro Ferrer in 1974 and they divorced in 1981.

In 1994, the former couple’s 14-year-old son Rafael was killed and Mary was injured when her Jeep flipped.

Just two days before her death, Mary uploaded a video to her YouTube channel to say she was planning to release new music.

She said she had been working with Universal Music on releasing solo material, including the unreleased album Red Hot, which she recorded in the 1970s.

Mary found major success once more with her memoir: Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme in 1986. The book remained on the national best-seller list for months and established a sales record for the genre.

The book focused on the early career of the Supremes and its success during the 1960s.

Four years later, in 1990, Mary released her second memoir: Supreme Faith: Someday We’ll Be Together, also a best-seller, which focused on the Supremes in the 1970s.

She is survived by her daughter Turkessa, her son Pedro Antonio Jr and six grandchildren.

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