Wilson’s death was confirmed overnight by her longtime publicist Jay Schwartz, who said that the singer died suddenly. A cause of death has not been announced.
Ross, who was in the Supremes with Wilson from their inception in 1959 as The Primettes until she left the group to go solo in 1970, shared a tribute to the late singer on her Twitter account this morning (February 9).
“I just woke up to the news, my condolences to you, Mary’s family,” Ross wrote on Twitter. “I am reminded that each day is a gift.
I just woke up to this news , my condolences to you Mary's family ,I am reminded that each day is a gift ,I have so many wonderful memories of our time together "The Supremes " will live on ,in our hearts 💕
— Ms. Ross (@DianaRoss) February 9, 2021
Addressing Wilson, Ross continued: “I have so many wonderful memories of our time together. ‘The Supremes’ will live on in our hearts.”
Ross’ tribute follows on from a statement that was issued last night (February 8) by Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr., who praised Wilson as “a trailblazer [and] a diva”.
“I was extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of a major member of the Motown family, Mary Wilson of the Supreme,” Gordy said in his statement.
“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 Number One 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.”