Mary Wilson poses for a photograph. AP
The singer, who started the legendary Motown group when she was just 15, died on Monday (8 February) night at her home in Las Vegas.
Wilson's longtime publicist told Variety that her death was sudden, with the circumstances yet to be revealed.
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Record executive Berry Gordy paid tribute to Wilson on Monday night, saying: “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.’”
Originally known as the Primettes, the Supremes signed to Motown records in 1961. They scored their first hit in 1963 with “When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes” and went on to become the genre’s most successful act.
Along with her co-founder Florence Ballard and Diana Ross, Wilson appeared on all 12 of the Supremes’ No. 1 pop hits between 1964-69.
In the years since, Wilson released two solo studio albums, as well as four books. In 2019, she competed on the 28th season of Dancing with the Stars.
On Saturday (6 February), Wilson had posted a video to her YouTube channel announcing that she was working with Universal Music on releasing solo material, including an unreleased album titled Red Hot, which she recorded in the 1970s. She planned to put out the record on 6 March, her birthday.
In the video, which is titled: “Mary Wilson YouTube Channel Celebrates Black History Month 2021”, the singer said that she would be releasing interviews about the Supremes’ experiences with segregation.
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