Maya Angelou dies at 86; remembrances pour in

Beloved poet and author Maya Angelou died Wednesday morning at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C., her family confirmed. She was 86. Angelou made an emotional impact on millions throughout the years with her writing, notably with her famed 1970 memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Almost immediately after the news broke Wednesday morning, Twitter lit up with heartfelt tributes (see below).


President Obama also released a statement:

When her friend Nelson Mandela passed away last year, Maya Angelou wrote that “No sun outlasts its sunset, but will rise again, and bring the dawn.”

Today, Michelle and I join millions around the world in remembering one of 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.  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.  In fact, she inspired my own mother to name my sister Maya.

Like so many others, Michelle and I will always cherish the time we were privileged to spend with Maya.  With a kind word and a strong embrace, she had the ability to remind us that we are all God’s children; that we all have something to offer.  And while Maya’s day may be done, we take comfort in knowing that her song will continue, “flung up to heaven” – and we celebrate the dawn that Maya Angelou helped bring.

Bill Clinton weighed in:

With Maya Angelou’s passing, America has lost a national treasure; and Hillary and I, a beloved friend.

The poems and stories she wrote and read to us in her commanding voice were gifts of wisdom and wit, courage and grace.

I will always be grateful for her electrifying reading of “On the Pulse of Morning” at my first inaugural, and even more for all the years of friendship that followed.

Now she sings the songs the Creator gave to her when the river “and the tree and the stone were one.”

Our deepest sympathies are with Guy and his family.

And from Oprah:

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.

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complete coverage:

Maya Angelou, writer and poet, dies at age 86

The 1970 review of ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’

Notes from Angelou’s 80th birthday celebration

Video: Maya Angelou’s reading at 1993 Clinton inauguration

Video: Maya Angelou’s most memorable moments

‘If it falls, it falls, but darlin’, I will have been as present as possible’

Honored by National Portrait Gallery in April, Maya Angelou faces mortality and immortality

What Angelou wrote and said about race and politics

Capehart: Maya Angelou goes home

When Maya Angelou blasted Obama’s school-reform policies

Maya Angelou honored in March for her first job as a street car conductor in San Francisco

Emily Yahr is an entertainment reporter and pop culture blogger for the Style section. She joined the Post in May 2008, a week before she graduated from the University of Maryland, and worked on Lisa de Moraes' TV Column and blog.
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