Legendary poet and author Maya Angelou died this morning at age 86 -- and celebrities and politicians reacted to the sad news.
"She'd been very frail and had heart problems, but she was going strong, finishing a new book," her agent, Helen Brann. "I spoke to her yesterday. She was fine, as she always was. Her spirit was indomitable."
With someone who meant so much to American culture and influenced so many -- from celebrities to politicians -- many took to Twitter and Instagram to voice their appreciation for the "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" author.
Her family released this statement on Facebook:
"Dr. Maya Angelou passed quietly in her home before 8:00 a.m. EST. 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."
In a statement, Robert Loomis, Angelou's editor of more than forty years, said, "Maya, a dear friend, helped change our hearts and minds about the African American experience in the United States, bringing it to vivid life, and her spirit and energy crossed all borders and deeply affected readers around the world."
Here are other tributes:
"If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be." Maya Angelou - who was utterly amazing.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 28, 2014
#RIP Maya Angelou, who reminded us "Nothing can dim the light which shines from within"— Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) May 28, 2014
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
"Just like hopes springing high, Still I'll rise."—Maya Angelou, a truly phenomenal woman whose words will serve to lift our souls forever.— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) May 28, 2014
RIP Maya Angelou. RT @DrMayaAngelou: Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.— Dulé Hill (@DuleHill) May 28, 2014
My heart and soul hurt today because of the passing of a true Genious Maya Angelou. Heaven has another wonderful angel walking its golden st— Darius Rucker (@dariusrucker) May 28, 2014
Rest with the angels, Maya Angelou. pic.twitter.com/iPNSvui8BL— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) May 28, 2014
"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty" - Maya Angelou— Forest Whitaker (@ForestWhitaker) May 22, 2014
"I've learned that you shouldn't go thru life w/ a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back." -Maya Angelou— Ryan Seacrest (@RyanSeacrest) May 28, 2014
"If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be." #MayaAngelou : poet, author and activist, dead at 86— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) May 28, 2014
Her words, poetry and stories were so stirring. And her activism was inspiring. Sad to read about the passing of Maya Angelou. RIP.— Marlee Matlin (@MarleeMatlin) May 28, 2014
Maya Angelou has passed away. She was a great light in the world. I feel honored to live in a world she influenced and touched so deeply.— Cyndi Lauper (@cyndilauper) May 28, 2014
And now we have a Queen Angel, rest Maya Angelou, thank you for your many gifts...— Reggie Miller (@ReggieMillerTNT) May 28, 2014
Rest in peace, Dr. Maya Angelou. The world is better because of your voice.— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) May 28, 2014
Maya Angelou is my hero. She gave me courage to love myself and others. Her life was a gift to so many.— America Ferrera (@AmericaFerrera) May 28, 2014
Rev. Al Sharpton also released a statement, saying: "Maya Angelou was the quintessential renaissance woman of the 20th century art and human rights movements. Not only was she a literary icon, she was one of the few that turned her words into action. Although she participated in civil rights rallies, she challenged leaders of the civil rights movement to embrace the struggles of others and a broader view of freedom fighting. She challenged misogyny in the movement and was our poet, conscience, teacher and corrector. She was one of the few people whose presence you felt in the room even if she didn’t say a word. Her spirit was incomparable."