Poet and author Maya Angelou died today at the age of 86, according to her literary agent Helen Brann. Angelou received the country’s highest civilian honor – the Medal of Freedom – in 2011 from President Obama, and is most widely known for her award-winning memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
At the 2013 National Book Awards where she received the “Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community” award, she told the audience, “You are the rainbow in my cloud…Easy reading is damn hard writing…For over 40 years, I have tried to tell the truth as I understand it…I haven’t tried to tell everything I know, but I’ve tried to tell the truth.”
Commissioned by the US Department of State, Angelou published His Day Is Done after the passing of Nelson Mandela.
Angelou died at her home in Winston-Salem, NC.