Harper Lee, Author of 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' Dies at 89

PHOTO: President George W. Bush presents the 2007 Presidential Medal of Freedom to "To Kill A Mockingbird" novelist Harper Lee on Nov. 5, 2007 in the East Room the White House in Washington, D.C.PlayMandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
WATCH Harper Lee, Author of 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' Dead at 89

Famed American author Harper Lee has died at the age of 89, according to the mayor's office in her home town in Alabama and her publisher.

Best known for her book "To Kill A Mockingbird," Lee shied away from the spotlight for much of her later life.

PHOTO: Author of To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, is pictured while visiting her home town in 1961. Donald Uhrbrock/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
Author of "To Kill a Mockingbird," Harper Lee, is pictured while visiting her home town in 1961.

Publishing house HarperCollins released a statement confirming that she "died peacefully last night," but gave no further details.

Lee was represented by HarperCollins agent Andrew Nurnberg, who shared memories from his most recent visit with the author, whose first name was Nelle.

"Knowing Nelle these past few years has been not just an utter delight but an extraordinary privilege," Nurnberg said in a statement released by the publishing house.

"When I saw her just six weeks ago, she was full of life, her mind and mischievous wit as sharp as ever. She was quoting Thomas More and setting me straight on Tudor history. We have lost a great writer, a great friend and a beacon of integrity," Nurnberg said.

Lee was a native of Monroeville, Alabama and her first book was published in 1960 to immediate fanfare. She won the Pulitzer Prize and the work quickly became a literary and popular favorite.

The book, which addresses racial issues in the South, was assigned widely in schools.

PHOTO: Harper Lees Go Set a Watchman and To Kill a Mockingbird are pictured at Barnes & Noble Union Square on July 13, 2015 in New York City. Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images
Harper Lee's "Go Set a Watchman" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" are pictured at Barnes & Noble Union Square on July 13, 2015 in New York City.

Lee was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bush in 2007.

She said for years that she would never write another book, but the manuscript for a second novel "Go Set A Watchman," was published in 2015.

"The world knows Harper Lee was a brilliant writer but what many don’t know is that she was an extraordinary woman of great joyfulness, humility and kindness," HarperCollins president and publisher Michael Morrison said in a statement today.

"She lived her life the way she wanted to- in private- surrounded by books and the people who loved her. I will always cherish the time I spent with her," he said.

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