Wilson was part of the iconic singing trio which included Diana Ross and Florence Ballard.
Mary Wilson was only 15 years old when she co-founded the Supremes, one of the most iconic groups of female singers of all time. The vocalist died on Monday night at her home in Las Vegas. She was 76, reports Variety. “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 Berry Gordy, the founder of the Motown record label, in a statement Monday night.
“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 No. 1 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.”
RIP to the original Supreme, Mary Wilson. She was known as “the sexy one” in the group but she was much more, and worked til the end to preserve the group’s incredible legacy in the music world and in history. pic.twitter.com/8S20RJZdwk— Andy Cohen (@Andy) February 9, 2021
Wilson's publicist Jay Schwartz said that her death was sudden. The circumstances of her death have not been revealed. There will be a public memorial later this year in honor of the starlet. Just two days before her death, the 76-year-old announced that she was working with Universal Music on releasing solo material, including the unreleased album “Red Hot” she recorded in the 1970s with producer Gus Dudgeon. “Hopefully some of that will be out on my birthday, March 6,” she said in the video posted on her YouTube Channel. Wilson had been planning on being part of the upcoming celebrations of the 60th anniversary of The Supremes.
Mary Wilson, co-founder of The Supremes, has died at 76.— AJ+ (@ajplus) February 9, 2021
Wilson was the only member to stay with the iconic group through its entire run. They were the first all-female group to top the U.S. album charts and achieved 12 #1 hits. pic.twitter.com/iiRoQTWlC2
The group was a force to be reckoned with in the ‘60s. Wilson appeared on each of The Supremes' 12 No. 1 pop hits from 1964 to 1969, including "Where Did Our Love Go," "Baby Love," "Come See About Me," and "Stop! In the Name of Love," among others. Diana Ross shared a tribute to Wilson, her Supremes co-founder, and groupmate from 1959 to 1970. She tweeted: 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.
I am deeply saddened by the passing of the beautiful Mary Wilson! She was a legend and an icon and what she contributed to the world cannot be overstated. I send my deepest condolences and prayers to her family, loved ones and fans. ❤ pic.twitter.com/NBNZ6d8qmO— Patti LaBelle (@MsPattiPatti) February 9, 2021
The singer is survived by her daughter Turkessa and grandchildren (Mia, Marcanthony, Marina); her son, Pedro Antonio Jr, and grandchildren (Isaiah, Ilah, Alexander, Alexandria). Both her kids are from her marriage to former Supremes manager Pedro Ferrer. She divorced the Dominican businessman in 1981.