The legendary singer and founding member of iconic Motown group the Supremes died suddenly at her Nevada home on Monday at the age of 76, her publicist Jay Schwartz confirmed. Wilson founded the trio at the age of 15 in Detroit and stayed with the group until it disbanded in 1977. Artists and fans from around the world are paying tribute to her life and work.
“I was extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of a major member of the Motown family, Mary Wilson of the Supremes,” said Motown founder Berry Gordy in a 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 1960’s. 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,” Gordy said. “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.”
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
The world has lost one of its greatest legends, Mary Wilson, original and founding member of the Supremes. pic.twitter.com/KJzNutx9lQ
— Classic Motown (@ClassicMotown) February 9, 2021
Berry Gordy today spoke of #MaryWilson's special talent, but he pushed her, the founder of the Supremes, in to the background in favour of Diana Ross, an inferior vocalist in every respect.
Mary Wilson deserves her place in music history. It was greater than Gordy allowed her.
— Mark H (@ffsake) February 9, 2021
So much death lately… pic.twitter.com/lsuJ6cVz58
— T Kiang (@Mz_Kiang) February 9, 2021
Supremes co-founder Mary Wilson has joined the ancestors. Whenever I think of her, my mind IMMEDIATELY goes to the only Soul Train line Don Cornelius ever went down – bc Mary wanted him to.
— Naima Cochrane (@naima) February 9, 2021