Maya Angelou Dead at 86, Stars Reacts on Twitter
Her son, Guy Johnson, confirmed the sad news in a statement. It reads:
Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belabored by a loss of acuity or comprehension. She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.”
Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson in St. Louis, Mo., in 1928. As a child, she grew up in the segregated south and work a number of jobs to support herself.
Angelou overcame many personal obstacles in life, including childhood depression, rape, giving birth as a teenager and, at one time, was a prostitute.
In 1969, she published her first book, ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,’ which focused on her life and personal struggles. The book was nominated for a National Book Award and put her in the national spotlight.
“I thought that it was a mild book. There’s no profanity,” Angelou told the Associated Press. “It speaks about surviving, and it really doesn’t make ogres of many people. I was shocked to find there were people who really wanted it banned, and I still believe people who are against the book have never read the book.”
After the success of her first book, Angelou wrote the screenplay and score for the 1972 film, ‘Georgia, Georgia,’ becoming the first African-American woman to author a screenplay that was filmed. It was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, as well.
Angelou also spent time living in Ghana between 1962 and 1965. She wrote for the Ghanaian Times newspaper and was a broadcast journalist for Radio Ghana.
Overall, Angelou went on to write over 30 published works and win three Grammy Awards. She also became a mentor to Oprah Winfrey and was feted by many presidents.
Angelou spoked at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration and was awarded the Presidential Medal of the Arts in 2000. President Barack Obama also honored Angelou with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010.
As news of her death spread, celebrities went on Twitter to offer condolences to Angelou’s family. Read some of the tweets below.
RIP to one of the greatest women this world has ever known. Thank you Maya Angelou for all of the gifts and knowledge you gave us…
— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) May 28, 2014
With Maya Angelou's passing, America has lost a national treasure; and Hillary and I, a beloved friend. http://t.co/ZQnoHwulNb
— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) May 28, 2014
Michelle and I join millions in remembering Maya Angelou, a storyteller whose voice convinced us we all have something to offer. -bo
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 28, 2014
I've been blessed to have Maya Angelou as my mentor, mother/sister, and friend since my 20’s. She was… http://t.co/6oQR9Ibjax
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) May 28, 2014
I was thinking about her lately. GOD Bless the Soul of one if my heroes. Dr Maya Angelou
— COMMON (@common) May 28, 2014
#RIP to a true lyricist, Dr. Maya Angelou.
— Black Thought (@blackthought) May 28, 2014
Momentarily took the air out of me hearing you passed over. Then I smiled for you. REST IN GLORY MAYA ANGELOU. Luv!
— Nasir Jones (@Nas) May 28, 2014
It so sad to wake up to the news of Maya Angelou's passing. RIP
— Shakespeare (@shakybaby) May 28, 2014
Legendary author Maya Angelou…. http://t.co/ZHvnLYaZ4j
— Rapsody (@rapsodymusic) May 28, 2014
"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." – RIP Maya Angelou
— KELENDRIA ROWLAND (@KELLYROWLAND) May 28, 2014
— Chaka Khan (@ChakaKhan) May 28, 2014
I am literally in tears hearing of the passing of the great Maya Angelou.. The loss of Maya is a loss to all kind-hearted human beings.
— DJ Irie (@DJIRIE) May 28, 2014
RIP Maya Angelou. Now that's someone who left behind a body of work that will live forever….
— Charlamagne Tha God (@cthagod) May 28, 2014
RIP Maya Angelou … talk about a hell of a life…
— IG : Rosenbergradio (@Rosenbergradio) May 28, 2014
To the greatest of all time. So legendary she was on our stamps in Ghana. RIP Maya Angelou. You did your part and… http://t.co/szTdk4hRQA
— Blitz the Ambassador (@BlitzAmbassador) May 28, 2014
Oh Maya…. R.I.P.
— Saul Williams (@SaulWilliams) May 28, 2014
Rest in Peace Maya Angelou.. #TTLO
— Rico Love (@IamRicoLove) May 28, 2014
Whoa. Just heard @RealSway's announcement about Ms. Angelou. Very sad. RIP.
— Paul Rosenberg (@rosenberg) May 28, 2014
RIP MAYA ANGELOU! Wonderful woman will surely be missed!
— Aries Spears (@AriesSpears) May 28, 2014
Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.
— Maya Angelou (@DrMayaAngelou) May 23, 2014