Paula Abdul Was 'By Her Mom's Side' as Mother Lorraine Died at Age 85

Paula Abdul's mother Lorraine died at her California home on Sunday at the age of 85

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Paula Abdul‘s mother Lorraine died Monday at age 85, PEOPLE confirms.

“Lorraine died with her daughters Paula and Wendy by her side,” Abdul’s cousin Tara Riceberg tells PEOPLE. “Paula was able to be by her mom’s side and give her comfort in her final moments.”

“Lorraine was a single mom and a very strong and fierce woman. She raised two daughters and both Paula and Wendy are strong females who understand discipline,” Riceberg continued. “Their mom’s influence made them the women they are today.”

A private service, led by Rabbi Chaim Mentz, Chabad of Bel Air, was held Wednesday in California.

“At the memorial, everyone kept talking about Lorraine’s big smile and her infectious laugh and signature red lipstick,” Riceberg recalls. “It’s funny because Paula has an amazing laugh and it’s something she gets from her mom.”

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Abdul requested Nat King Cole’s “Sweet Lorraine” be played as they took her mother’s body from the chapel to the car.

“She really was Sweet Lorraine — everyone mentioned how she made the most incredible fudge and lemon cake,” Riceberg says. “She had such a warmth and a bright smile. It’s not surprising Paula is the way she is — she has that from her.”

In addition to being a familiar face alongside her famous daughter — attending her Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in 1991 — Lorraine was a talented concert pianist in her own right, growing up in the small town of Minnedosa, Manitoba in Canada.

While Abdul, 55, has yet to speak publicly on the loss, she did share a reflective message on Twitter Tuesday.

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“This moment from my visit to Israel is one I think of often,” she wrote. “Pausing to watch all the vibrant life going on. EVERY MOMENT of life should be savored & treasured, whether we’re alone or w/ people we love. When can you pause today to appreciate life? xoP #TuesdayThoughts.”

Entertainment Tonight was first to report news of Lorraine’s death.

  • Reporting by LIZ McNEIL
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