The Brooklyn native was a fixture at her son's shows, and would often dance onstage with him
Bruce Springsteen is mourning the loss of his mother, Adele.
The Boss’s mom, who celebrated her 98th birthday in May, died on Wednesday, Springsteen shared on Instagram, more than 10 years after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
The "Dancing in the Dark" singer, 74, shared a video of his mother dancing outside to swing music alongside a caption of lyrics from his 1998 song "The Wish," which was written for her and tells the story of how she used money the family didn't have to buy her only son a guitar."
Adele was a regular at her son’s shows for decades, and he often pulled her up onstage to dance with him.
“My mother loves to dance. She grew up in the ‘40s… [with] the big bands and the swing bands, and that was a time when dancing was an existential act,” he said during a 2021 Springsteen on Broadway performance, according to the TODAY show.
He said at the time that Adele had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 10 years earlier, and that the disease had “taken a lot away from us.”
“But the need to dance hasn’t left her,” he said. “She can’t speak. She can’t stand. She can’t feed herself. But when she sees me, there is always a smile. Still a smile. And there’s still a kiss. And there’s a sound which she makes when she sees me. It’s just the sound but I know it means ‘I love you.’”
Springsteen reportedly added that he’d play her Glen Miller, and would see her moving in her chair before she reached out to him so they could dance together.
“This is an essential part of mom’s spirit, it’s who she is,” he said. “It’s beyond language and it’s more powerful than memory. It’s the embodiment. This is what she has put her trust in and lived her life by and which, despite all she has suffered, she carries on with to this moment, as if life’s beauty never deserted her. I love her.”
Adele Zerilli was born in Brooklyn on May 4, 1925 to Italian immigrants, and married Douglas Springsteen (who died in 1998) in 1948. The couple met in New Jersey after his cousin set them up, according to a 1984 article in The San Mateo County Times.
They soon relocated to Freehold, New Jersey, where they raised Bruce and his sisters Pamela and Virginia. Adele worked as a legal secretary for 47 years, and eventually moved with her family to California when her son was 19 (He stayed behind in New Jersey to pursue his dreams of rock stardom).
“There aren’t any words to describe it. What would you do if your kid was smiling at you from every PEOPLE magazine in town?” she told the Times in 1984 of her son’s success. “All our children are nice children. We’re proud of all of them.”
In 2010, Adele appeared onstage with her sisters Dora and Ida as Springsteen spoke at the Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards.
"She held our family together under great, great, great difficulty," Springsteen said of his mother. "She did an unusual thing — her parents were relatively well-off and she married into poverty and served there for a good part of her life and really held us all together. Thank you, Mom. Love you very much."
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