Della Reese died on Nov. 19 at the age of 86. While she’s now resting in peace, her last years on Earth were turbulent and filled with pain. Click through RadarOnline.com’s gallery to find out more about the troubles the star bravely battled.
Reese never got over the sudden and devastating death of her 41-year-old daughter Deloreese Daniels in March 2002.
Deloreese passed away after battling a chronic pituitary disorder. Reese “went into shock upon hearing the news of her daughter’s death,” a source said at the time. “Her husband had to pick her up off the ground.”
Compounding Reese’s anguish, she was diagnosed with crippling diabetes in 2002. “My life is at stake,” the actress once said. “I don’t have Type 2 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes has me. I’ve had to make some big changes to have the quality of life I want.”
Reese suffered terrible head pain and was terrified of the disease. “I was frightened at first,” she revealed. “I’d lost my mentor, gospel legend Mahalia Jackson, to complications from diabetes and my friend Ella Fitzgerald lost her legs because of the disease!”
In 2011, it was revealed that Reese was struggling with severe money problems. She and her husband, Franklin Lett, owed the bank tens of thousands of dollars for back taxes on their Bel-Air property.
Around the same time, the IRS opened up an investigation into Reese’s Understanding Principles for Better Living church after $1.5 million went missing. Reese blamed two rogue employees, but she declined to press charges because she had “decided not to drag the church through that.”
In September 2016, a frail and sickly wheelchair-bound Reese, then 85, shocked onlookers when she showed up to honor Roma Downey, her former Touched By an Angel costar, when she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “She was barely recognizable,” noted one onlooker at the event. “She was barely recognizable.”
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