Mary Wilson Of The Supremes Dead At 76: A Look Back At Her Amazing Accomplishments

Photo: Joe Seer / Shutterstock
Mary Wilson

After being a part of a music group that would change the industry forever, Mary Wilson — one of the founding members of The Supremes — has died at 76 years old. 

Her publicist, Jay Schwartz, confirmed that Wilson had passed away the night of Monday, February 8. 

Preceding Wilson in death is her fellow Supremes member, Florence Ballard, who died in 1976; she was the only original member to stay in the group until it disbanded in 1977. 

How did Mary Wilson die?

Not much information is out there quite yet, but read on for all the details.

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The cause of Mary Wilson's death isn't clear.

Wilson's rep didn't share a cause of death, and so far, all Schwartz has shared is that he is "devastated" that Wilson died in her Henderson, Nevada home.

Though she was 76 years old, her death is sudden — Wilson didn't seem to have any underlying health issues that had been addressed publicly, so it's hard to know why this happened, but hopefully, we'll have more answers soon. 

“Mary was a force of nature,” Recording Industry Association of America CEO Mitch Glazier said in a statement.

“She never stopped pushing for what she thought was right and would not shy away from a worthy fight. And she made a difference — securing fair treatment for generations of classic artists and paving the way for tomorrow’s stars. A towering figure in the history of music and artist rights, all of us at RIAA are proud and honored to have called Mary a friend. We send our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones during this difficult time." 

Just weeks ago, Mary posted a video on YouTube about her excitement for the year ahead.

Wilson's death seems especially sudden because of how recently she had shared her big plans for the future. Not only did Wilson seem to be thriving, but she also had plans to continue to release music as well.

On February 6 (just two days before her death), Wilson took to YouTube to share her excitement for Black History Month and the 60th anniversary of The Supremes:

"We're going to be talking about The Supremes - 60th anniversary! I'll be talking a lot about that, because I'm working with Universal who are going to be releasing new Mary Wilson recordings!

So we've got Red Hot, the Gus Dudgeon songs that I did in the late 70s, and it's full of wonderful songs that were never released, but there will also be some other songs, some surprising new songs, new recordings!" 

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Wilson was best known for being one of the original Supremes.

Along with Florence Ballard and Diana Ross, Wilson was one of the founding members of The Supremes in the '60s.

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Though Ballard and Ross would leave the group in 1967 and 1970, Wilson would stay in until the group disbanded in 1977.

They quickly became one of the most famous and successful Motown groups in the history of music, releasing songs like "Baby Love" and "You Keep Me Hanging On." 

Later on, Wilson would go on to publish books, including her autobiography, Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme, and would eventually go on to compete on Dancing With The Stars in 2019. 

Wilson was married to Pedro Ferrer from 1974 to 1981, and had three children: Pedro, Turkessa, and Rafael, who was killed at 14 years old in a 1994 car accident when Wilson was at the wheel. 

Diana Ross has sent her condolences.

Ross — who is now the only living member of the original Supremes — reacted to Wilson's death in a heartbreaking tweet on Tuesday morning. 

"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," Ross tweeted. "The Supremes will live on, in our hearts." 

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Nicole Pomarico is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Cosmo, Us Weekly, Refinery29, and more.