The socialite and former ballet teacher was 89

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Julie Cowell, the mother of Simon Cowell, passed away on Sunday, PEOPLE has confirmed. She was 89.

A family spokesperson confirmed the news in a statement from Julie’s family.

“Today our beloved mum Julie passed away,” they said. “Anyone who had met her would know what a truly special and kind lady she was. We are heartbroken and will miss her terribly, but she is now at peace.”

The family spokesperson also said in a statement that the family was seeking privacy.

“We would like to thank the media for kindly respecting Julie s privacy throughout and we politely request continued privacy for the entire family at this particularly difficult time.”

Julie, a former ballet dancer and socialite, was the mother of four boys – Nicholas, Simon, Tony and Michael – and step-mother to John and June Cowell.

Simon’s brother, journalist Tony, spoke out after the news on Twitter, writing that he was “the heart and soul of our family.”