Etterlene DeBarge, the Matriarch of the DeBarge Family, Dies at 88

A noted gospel singer, she released two albums and her memoir "Other Side of Pain” in 2007.

Etterlene DeBarge, the matriarch of the DeBarge family, has passed away, Parade reports. She was 88 years old.

Etterlene “Bunny” DeBarge, her daughter, confirmed her mother’s passing on Friday (Feb. 16) post on Instagram.

“Momma has gone to see her king! Mom died in Woodland Hill in California at 7:40 AM this morning (Friday, February 16th) Pacific time. She died peacefully in her sleep at 88 years old,” the post read.

El DeBarge also shared the news of his mother’s passing on Instagram with a touching tribute.

“The Queen of My Heart, my beautiful mama, has gone home to the loving arms of her Savior Jesus 🙌🏽 There wasn't a single day that her faith wavered one bit even when her health began to fail.,” El’s post read. “She was so ready to reunite with her loved ones who passed before her - her brothers & sisters, especially her sons, Bobby & Tommy.”

“From the bottom of my heart, I Thank all of you for your expressions of sympathy & love to the family. We feel it and it lifts our heavy hearts as we grieve,” his post continued.

Although the cause of death was not disclosed, TMZ reported that DeBarge was battling dementia.

Born on October 13, 1935, in Michigan, she eventually married Robert DeBarge in 1953 and the union would produce 10 children. After years of suffering from domestic abuse, she divorced Robert in 1974.

Robert “Bobby” DeBarge Jr. would become the lead singer of the Motown group Switch who generated several hits during the 70s. Seven of the children also signed with Motown and formed the internationally acclaimed act DeBarge.

In 1980, Etterlene married George Rodriguez and they remained together until her death.

Affectionately called “Mama DeBarge” in 1991, she released the gospel album “Back on Track” followed by “A City Called Heaven,” in 2005. 

In 2007, she released her memoir, “Other Side of the Pain,” detailing her children’s meteoric rise to fame and how she survived an abusive marriage.

Etterlene DeBarge is survived by her husband, George, eight of her children, and numerous grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her sons, Robert DeBarge Jr. and Tommy DeBarge.

We extend our prayers and deepest condolences to the DeBarge family.

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