First lady Michelle Obama will speak at a private memorial service for writer and poet Maya Angelou on Saturday.

President Obama and the first lady remembered Angelou, who died last week at 86, as a "fierce friend" whose work long influenced them and their families. Michelle Obama will speak Saturday morning at Wake Forest University's Wait Chapel.

President Obama's sister Maya was named after Angelou. Angelou's relationship with the Obamas started during the 2008 campaign. Angelou, then a supporter of Hillary Clinton, endorsed Obama when Clinton dropped out of the race. Angelou was asked to introduce Michelle Obama during a rally in North Carolina. She wrote that she asked Oprah Winfrey for advice; Winfrey told her that Michelle Obama was "the real deal."

Maya Angelou receives a Medal of Freedom from President Obama at the White House in Washington in this February 15, 2011 file photo. (REUTERS/Larry Downing/Files )

In 2012, Michelle Obama presented Angelou an award at the BET Honors ceremony. She recounted being "spellbound" when reading the works of Angelou, whom Obama called one of her "she-roes."

President Obama awarded Angelou with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.