What Happened to Kanye West’s Mom? How Did Donda West Die?

Netflix’s ‘Jeen-Yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy’ is a documentary series that delves deep into the illustrious career of the rapper, record producer, and fashion designer from, quite literally, it’s initial days. In other words, it traverses everything from his struggle to his 2002 car accident and from his breakthrough to his life in the spotlight so that the world can understand who he really is. However, since one of the most prominent features in the entire production, apart from Kanye himself, was his mother, Donda West, let’s find out all that there is to know about her, shall we?

Who Was Donda West?

Born on July 12, 1949, Donda C. West (née Williams) was an incredible woman who’d sacrificed a lot over the years to ensure the happiness of her only child, no matter what the situation may be. She’d given birth to Kanye in Atlanta, Georgia, in her late 20s, but once her marriage with his father came to an end when he was just 3, she relocated to Chicago, Illinois, for good. Like any parent, she aimed to provide the best possible opportunities for him with this move while also expanding on her own career as an English professor, which honestly, she was able to accomplish.

Not only did the loving mother manage to care for her son by encouraging and pushing him to follow his dreams, but Donda also taught at Chicago State University for over 31 years. In fact, she gradually rose the ranks to become the head of the school’s Department of English, Communications, Media, and Theater — a post she held for 24 years before retiring in 2004. That’s when she migrated to California to be closer to Kanye and took on the role of a full-time “momager,” helping him focus on his music alone by standing right beside him through thick and thin.

Donda would’ve undoubtedly supported her son from near or afar, yet she seemingly wanted to be close by to maintain their bond as well as to offer her sage advice whenever required. We should even mention that apart from being the co-founder of the now-defunct Kanye West Foundation, a non-profit with a mission to battle illiteracy while focusing on music, she was also the CEO of the company handling Kanye’s businesses. As if that wasn’t enough, Donda then became an author by publishing ‘Raising Kanye: Life Lessons from the Mother of a Hip-Hop Superstar.’

What Happened to Donda West? How Did She Die?

On November 10, 2007, at the age of 58, Donda West passed away from complications after undergoing cosmetic surgery (liposuction, tummy tuck, and breast reduction) the day prior. She had purportedly chosen to recover at home following the procedure, but it proved fatal as she died of “coronary artery disease and multiple post-operative factors” without proper help around. According to official reports, Donda had “experienced a sore throat, pain, and tightening in her chest, before collapsing in the early evening” of that fateful day, never to be okay again.

After his mother’s demise, Kanye not only dedicated his performance of “Hey Mama” and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” to his mother on all dates of his subsequent tour, but he also renamed his non-profit the Dr. Donda West Foundation. Moreover, it’s evident that Donda is still a significant part of his life because he has gone as far as to name his 10th studio album after her, with its sequel ‘Donda 2’ releasing in late February 2022. Kanye honestly seems determined not to let her name or legacy fade out of memory as he wants to honor her in every way possible.

Read More: Where is Kanye West’s Dad Now?