Award-winning author, renowned poet, and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou has died at age 86.
Angelou’s family issued a statement on her Facebook page saying Angelou passed quietly in her home just before 8 a.m. today. The family called her “a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace” and said “the family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.”
Here is the full statement:
Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. also issued a statement, calling Angelou “a national treasure whose life and teachings inspired millions around the world. Angelou served as a professor of American Studies since 1982 at the university.
Angelou had been battling some health problems and recently canceled some appearances. She was set to be honored at the 2014 MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon this week, but canceled her appearance due to her health, according to the Associated Press.
Major League Baseball cited "health reasons" Friday in saying the 86-year-old won't make it to the May 30 event in Houston before the annual Civil Rights Game.
Angelou canceled an event last month in Fayetteville, Arkansas, because she was recovering from an "unexpected ailment" that sent her to the hospital.
Angelou gained acclaim for her first book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” The landmark 1969 autobiography that made her one of the first African-American women to write a best seller, according to the AP.
Tall and regal, with a deep, majestic voice, Angelou defied all probability and category, becoming one of the first black women to enjoy mainstream success as an author and thriving in virtually every artistic medium. The young single mother who performed at strip clubs to earn a living later wrote and recited the most popular presidential inaugural poem in history. The childhood victim of rape wrote a million-selling memoir, befriended Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and performed on stages around the world.
Known for her inspirational words, Angelou was the poet chosen to read at President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration in 1993. The original poem that she wrote and read, ‘‘On the Pulse of Morning,” became a best-seller, according to the AP.
Angelou’s moving words could also be seen on social media. Last week, she sent the following tweet—her last:
A full obituary on Maya Angelou can he read here.