Attorney General Eric Holder (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) Attorney General Eric Holder (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Attorney General Eric Holder was a huge admirer of  Maya Angelou, so much so he named his daughter after the author and poet.

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Maya Angelou, a true national treasure whom I have admired greatly for many, many years," Holder said in a statement. “For my family and me, Maya Angelou will always be much more than a great American and an icon in world literature. She is the namesake of one of my daughters, who met her as a young girl and celebrated her twenty-first birthday just one day before the elder Maya was lost to us."

Holder’s daughter, Maya, was reportedly quite upset about Angelou’s death and Holder consoled her at home before leaving for a trip to South Carolina yesterday.

Angelou died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Wednesday, and had been suffering from heart problems.

More from Holder: "Although our hearts are filled with grief at the news of her passing – a sorrow made all the more acute by the knowledge that we shall not see her like again – she will continue to be a source of strength and inspiration.  She will endure in the singular body of work she leaves behind.  And she will live on in the shining example that guides our steps forward and fuels the work that remains.

He said he considered her more than a writer, that she was a witness to history. "Through her extraordinary work, she captured the tenacity of the human spirit and spoke of harsh realities in the most evocative, moving, and lyrical of ways.  Over the course of a career spanning some of the most tumultuous decades of the last century, she taught us how to rise above ‘a past that’s rooted in pain.’  She gave voice to a people too often shut out of America’s public discourse.  She displayed remarkable courage in the face of tremendous adversity.  And she inspired generations to overcome life’s greatest challenges – through her extensive writings, her performances, her advocacy, her educational work, and her principled activism."

“We have lost a legend, a trailblazer in the truest sense, and one of the guiding lights of the 20th century.  Yet despite our heartache and our pain, Maya Angelou will always be with us.  Her voice will continue to console, to challenge, and to inspire us.  We bid her farewell today.  But we know that, even now, ‘into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear,’ still she rises.”