Maya Angelou, the award-winning American writer, poet and civil rights activist has died at age 86.
Angelou, the famous author of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings died on Wednesday morning at her Winston Salem home in North Carolina, United States.
Angelou had stayed away from social activities of late. She recently cancelled a scheduled appearance at the 2014 MLB Beacon Award Luncheon, where she was to be honored with the Beacon of Life Award, due to health problems.
Angelou has been honored with more than 50 awards, including the United States’ highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for her collected works of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, most notably her groundbreaking memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which made history as one of the first non-fiction best-sellers by an African-American woman.
Writer, Julian Mayfield is said to have described the autobiography as “a work of art which eludes description.” This also holds true for Angelou’s persona, which defies description.
Aside being a writer, she was also a professor, actress, singer, film director and dancer. And her work spans several professions. Before making it big, the 6-foot-tall wordsmith also worked as a cook and sang with a traveling road show.
Although she was fondly referred to as Dr. Angelou, she never went to a university. Yet she had more than 30 honorary degrees and taught American studies for years at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. “I created myself,” she once said. “I have taught myself so much.”