'Touched by an Angel' Star, Singer Della Reese Dead at 86

Jessica Napoli
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Actress Della Reese attends the premiere of "Expecting Mary" at the Crosby Street Hotel on August 23, 2010 in New York City.

Singer/actor Della Reese, best known in her acting career as Tess on the TV series Touched by an Angel (1994–2003), has died at the age of 86. Besides her television stardom, Reese also had a successful career in music. Her roots were in gospel music, but in in 1953, she signed with Jubilee Records and recorded six albums.

Reese was also a successful talk show host. In the late 1960s, she was the face of her show Della, which ran for an impressive 197 episodes.

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“On behalf of her husband, Franklin Lett, and all her friends and family, I share with you the news that our beloved Della Reese has passed away peacefully at her California home last evening surrounded by love. She was an incredible wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and pastor, as well as an award-winning actress and singer," her Touched by an Angel costar Roma Downey told PEOPLE magazine. "Through her life and work she touched and inspired the lives of millions of people."

Reese leaves behind her husband, Franklin Lett, and her two children, James and Dominique. Her other daughter, Deloreese, passed previously.