Maya Angelou Has Died at 86

CBS News has confirmed that poet and author Maya Angelou has passed away at the age of 86.

Last Friday, Angelou was forced to skip an MLB luncheon at which she was being honored due to “health reasons.” Last month, Angelou also canceled an event in Fayettville, Arkansas, saying she was recovering from an “unexpected ailment” that sent her to the hospital. According to Angelou’s literary agent Helen Brann, Angelou had been suffering from heart problems.

Angelou was one of the first women of color to rise to prominence in the literary community. Her autobiography of life in the Jim Crowe South, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, won her immediate critical acclaim when it was published in 1969. Since then, Angelou has published six more autobiographies, three books of essays and several books of poetry. She has also written plays, movies and television shows.

Angelou’s writing has touched the lives of millions, but it was her power to inspire that truly made her an icon. In the 1960s, before she was published, Angelou was close with both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. and was an important voice in the Civil Rights movement. Though her writing was initially deemed controversial, it is now taught in most schools.

It is almost impossible to properly memorialize someone as important and with a career as long and varied as Dr. Angelou. But in her final tweet, we can see the kind of wisdom she shared with the world for many decades.

Tags: Maya Angelou, RIP