Legendary Motown singer Mary Wilson has died at the age of 76. The Motown singer suddenly died on Monday night at her home in Las Vegas, her publicist confirmed.
The singer’s cause of death has not been confirmed.
Her publicist said funeral services will be private because of COVID, but a memorial service will be held later in the year.
A statement from Berry Gordy, the founder of the Motown label, said: “I was extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of a major member of the Motown family, Mary Wilson of The Supremes.
“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.”
Tributes have been pouring in for the singer, with many people taking to social media to offer their condolences.
One person wrote: “So sad to hear Motown legend & founding member of The Supremes, #MaryWilson has passed away at her Vegas home tonight. I was so fortunate to have met & interviewed Mary many times & she was always such a delight. She’ll be sorely missed but her legacy will live on forever.”
Another penned: “The Supremes a favourite of my generation. One of a kind and still revered by some. RiP Mary Wilson.”
Mary was best known for being one of the co-founders of The Supremes at the age of 15 alongside Diana Ross and Florence Ballard in Detroit.
Along with her band mate Diana, Mary was at the forefront of the Motown sound after signing with the label in 1961.
The group were originally called The Primettes before they changed their name to The Supremes.
The ladies went onto achieve worldwide success and at one point outsold The Beatles.
“We were – there were rock’n’roll girls and we were good girls!” Mary explained.
“I don’t think there was rivalry between us and the Beatles.”
She added to The Guardian: “Paul [McCartney] called me when Diane [Diana Ross] left, saying: ‘Why did she leave – what’s going on?’
“Entertainers are really quite friendly with each other. Unless some person irks you and you think, “That person irks me!”