Maya Angelou, pioneering African-American poet, author, and activist, died on Wednesday morning at her North Carolina home, her family said. She was 86.
In a statement, President Barack Obama called Angelou "one the brightest lights of our time – a brilliant writer, a fierce friend, and a truly phenomenal woman.
"Over the course of her remarkable life, Maya was many things — an author, poet, civil rights activist, playwright, actress, director, composer, singer and dancer," the president said. "But above all, she was a storyteller — and her greatest stories were true. A childhood of suffering and abuse actually drove her to stop speaking — but the voice she found helped generations of Americans find their rainbow amidst the clouds, and inspired the rest of us to be our best selves. "
Oprah Winfrey released a statement remembering her friend:
"I've been blessed to have Maya Angelou as my mentor, mother/sister, and friend since my 20s. She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life. The world knows her as a poet but at the heart of her, she was a teacher. ‘When you learn, teach. When you get, give’ is one of my best lessons from her. She won three Grammys, spoke six languages and was the second poet in history to recite a poem at a presidential inauguration. But what stands out to me most about Maya Angelou is not what she has done or written or spoken, it’s how she lived her life. She moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence and a fierce grace. I loved her and I know she loved me. I will profoundly miss her. She will always be the rainbow in my clouds.”
News of Angelou's death spread quickly on Twitter, where users, including Obama, posted some of their favorite quotes from her books, poems, and film and television appearances.
Others simply retweeted Angelou's final tweet, published on May 23.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Maya Angelou
- Barack Obama