Poetess and Writer Maya Angelou dies at 86

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Late Maya Angelou

Acclaimed author and poet Maya Angelou died Wednesday morning at age 86, according to officials at the city of Winston-Salem mayor’s office. The celebrated poet, author and civil rights activist passed away in her North Carolina home.

Angelou recently cancelled a scheduled appearance at the 2014 MLB Beacon Award Luncheon, where she was to be honored with the Beacon of Life Award, due to health problems.

Linda Jackson-Barnes, assistant to Winston-Salem’s mayor, confirmed to TIME that the poet had passed away.

Angelou has been honored with more than 50 awards, including the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for her collected works of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, most notably her groundbreaking memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which made history as one of the first nonfiction best-sellers by an African-American woman.


Her last tweet, posted on May 23, read:


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