March 16, 2002
The body of “Touched by an Angel” actress Della Reese’s daughter Doloreese Daniels Owens was discovered in her home Wednesday. At 41 she died from natural causes. According to the obituary, Owens died as a result of a pituitary dysfunction that made her susceptible to infections.
As of 2002:
“The Pituitary Tragedy Touched Me”
It has been eight years since Della Reese, 71, appeared on the hit television series “Touched by an Angel.” In 2012, Reese suffered a tragic accident. Deloreese Daniels Owens, 42, passed away in March after complications caused by pituitary disease. Her children ranged in age from 19 to 21.
As Reese was too distraught to discuss her death, she talked about her painful experience in an interview with Pituitary Network Association member and author Ken Baker. She shared her frustration with the lack of awareness for pituitary disorders. It seemed strange to me that I would die from a pituitary problem since you don’t often hear of such issues,” Reese said. You don’t understand how it could happen to you. What happened seems impossible to explain. Truth be told, it is still impossible to comprehend.”
Approximately six years ago, Reese’s daughter’s pituitary gland – the body’s “master gland” – started malfunctioning. She was prescribed various medications by her Los Angeles endocrinologist, but the gland’s function remained severely impaired. The injections continued and other medications were prescribed. Reese explained that the woman had been treating the condition for some time. The condition appeared to be under control with the medication.
The death of Reese’s daughter came suddenly this spring, shortly after she caught a cold. As Reese put it, her gland simply stopped working. She believes the public needs more information about pituitary disorders. As you are aware, when the gland stopped, her immune system also stopped. Her praise goes to Ken Baker for his 2001 memoir, “Man Made: A Memoir of My Body,” in which he recounted his struggle with a prolactin-secreting pituitary tumor. Reese also praised the Pituitary Network Association for its educational outreach programs, which have helped thousands of patients and their families cope with pituitary disease. She said the pituitary should be better understood. “It plays such an important role.”
Although Reese has lost her daughter, she has found spiritual peace, despite being ordained as a minister since the late 1980s. According to Reese, she was in a very good place in her life. “She was in a happy place. Her relationship with God had been established. The time wasn’t good for me personally, but she was in an excellent place when she left.”