Dowse's sister Tracey shared the news in an Instagram post on Saturday. "I want to take this moment to thank our friends and family for all of the love and prayers," she wrote. "It is with a very heavy heart that I inform everyone that my sister, Denise Dowse has gone forward to meet our family in eternal life."
She called Dowse "the most amazing sister, a consummate, illustrious actress, mentor and director," adding, "She was my very best friend and final family member. Denise loved all of you. I know that she is watching over us with all the love she has."
More information about Dowse's celebration of life service will be shared at a later time, noted Tracey. "Again I am so grateful for all the calls, text messages, direct messages, and silent prayers for my sister," she wrote. "We could not have made it so gracefully and painlessly without all of the prayer warriors around the world."
Tracey announced last week that her sister was hospitalized after she fell into a coma brought on by a virulent form of meningitis, a disease caused by the inflammation of brain and spinal cord membranes. "She is a vibrant actor and director that should have many years ahead of her," Tracey wrote at the time. "Thoughts, prayers and support are greatly appreciated."
Denise's representatives did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment.
Greg Doherty/Getty Denise Dowse
A fixture on '90s TV, Dowse portrayed West Beverly Hills High Vice Principal Yvonne Teasley on Beverly Hills, 90210, and made appearances on Seinfeld, California Dreams, Full House, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ER, and Moesha, among others. Her dozens of other credits include Charmed, Secrets and Lies, Good Trouble, Stumptown, and, most recently, Insecure, as Molly's (Yvonne Orji) therapist Rhonda Pine.
On the film front, Dowse had roles in the Ray Charles biopic Ray opposite Jamie Foxx, Darren Aronofsky's psychological thriller Requiem for a Dream, and Dr. Dolittle opposite Eddie Murphy. She was also set to make her film directorial debut with Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story, which follows the life and career of the gospel singer and activist who played an integral role in the civil rights movement.
On Sunday, Orji remembered her onscreen therapist as a "delight and a pleasure to work with." She wrote on Twitter, "She embodied the strength and wisdom in real life that her character #DrRhonda shared with Molly. You will truly be missed and so fondly remembered."
It truly was a delight and a pleasure to work with @denisedowse on @insecurehbo. She embodied the strength and wisdom in real life that her character #DrRhonda shared with Molly. You will truly be missed and so fondly remembered. May your soul forever Rest In Perfect Peace. 🤎 https://t.co/CR7ybOT64B
— Yvonne Orji (@YvonneOrji) August 14, 2022
Ian Ziering, who starred opposite Dowse on 90210 as Steve Sanders, called the loss heartbreaking. "Throughout all my years working on Beverly Hills 90210, my scenes with Denise will always be remembered with the utmost in respect for her talent, and fondness for the loving soul she was," Ziering wrote on Instagram. "Some of my heartiest off camera laughs were between she and I hammering out the the discipline her Mrs. Teasley would dish out to my Steve Sanders."