Mary Wilson, founding member of “The Supremes,” has died at the age of 76, her publicist told CNN.
Wilson “passed away suddenly tonight,” according to a statement from her longtime friend and publicist Jay Schwartz.
The singer was at her home in Henderson, Nevada. She is survived by her daughter, her son, several grandchildren, a sister and a brother.
Services will be private due to COVID-19 restrictions, and a celebration of Wilson’s life will take place later this year, the statement said.
BREAKING THE BARRIERS
Wilson was a “pioneer who broke down social, racial and gender barriers,” Schwartz said in his statement.
She began her career in Detroit in 1959 as a singer in what was then called “The Primettes”. They became “The Supremes” – Motown’s most successful band of the 1960s, with 12 number one singles including “Where Did Our Love Go”, “Baby Love” and “Stop! In the name of Love”, it says. the statement.
“Their influence continues not only in contemporary R&B, soul and pop, but has also helped pave the way for mainstream success of black artists of all genres,” the statement said.
In 2018, Billboard celebrated Motown’s 60th anniversary with a list of the “100 Best Artists of All Time” and ranked The Supremes at number 16, according to the release.
Wilson’s legacy went beyond singing, Schwartz noted. She has become a best-selling author, motivational speaker, businesswoman and cultural ambassador for the United States, he said.
“Wilson has used his fame and flair to promote a variety of humanitarian efforts, including ending hunger, raising awareness of HIV / AIDS and fostering world peace,” the statement said.
Wilson was also instrumental in passing the Music Modernization Act (MMA) in 2018, which aimed to modernize copyright issues for new music and audio recordings in the face of new technologies such as digital streaming. which did not protect music recorded before February 15, 1972., the statement said.