Maya Angelou dies in her NC home at age 86

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. —

Award-winning author, renowned poet and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou has died at her Winston-Salem home. She was 86.

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According to Mayor Allen Joines, Angelou was found by her caretaker on Wednesday morning.

(Live Updates: Maya Angelou dead at 86)

Angelou had been reportedly battling health problems and recently canceled a scheduled appearance of a special event to be held in her honor.

Angelou was set to be honored with the “Beacon of Life Award” at the 2014 MLB Beacon Award Luncheon on May 30 in Houston.

(Timeline: Maya Angelou's life)

She sent her last tweet on May 23:

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Angelou, one of the most renowned and influential voices of our time, was a celebrated poet, novelist, educator, producer, actress, filmmaker and civil rights activist.

She received over 50 honorary degrees and was Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.

(Read More: Poet, author Maya Angelou dies at 86)

The following statement was released Wednesday morning from Dr. Maya Angelou’s family:

Dr. Maya Angelou passed quietly in her home before 8 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.

Eyewitness News spent much of the day Wednesday at Angelou’s Winston Salem home. 

Fans and neighbors brought flowers and cards and placed them at the writer’s home throughout the day.  Amy North was full of tears as she remembered the author and poet.

“I had to come and say good-bye to someone who has inspired so many people,” she said.

North is the editor of a small magazine and said she had the opportunity to interview Angelou last year.

She said she was moved by Angelou’s writings and her testimony of resilience despite her past experiences. 

"I had to come and say good-bye to someone who has inspired so many people,” she said.

You can leave your condolences for Dr. Angelou and join the conversation about her life and achievements on our Facebook page.

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Dr. Maya Angelou's most well-known quotes

Angelou rose to fame in 1969 with her debut book, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," and wrote seven autobiographies and many poems, one of which she read at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton.

Angelou's last public statement was a Tweet May 23, which will join the canon of Angelou's oft-quoted wisdom: "Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God."

Here are some of her other most well-known quotes.

"If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love."

"The truth is, no one of us can be free until everybody is free."

"I'm a woman Phenomenally."

"Nothing can dim the light which shines from within."

"Nothing will work unless you do."

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain."

"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances."

"While one may encounter many defeats, one must not be defeated."

"My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return."


TIMELINE: Maya Angelou’s life

April 4, 1928- Maya Angelou is born in St. Louis, Missouri.

1942- Angelou dropped out of school to become San Francisco’s first African-American female car conductor.

1954 through 1955- Angelou toured Europe with a production of the opera "Porgy and Bess."

1957- Recorded her first album, "Calypso Lady."

1958- Angelou moved to New York, where she joined the Harlem Writers Guild. She acted in Jean Genet’s Off-Broadway production, "The Blacks," and performed "Cabaret for Freedom."

1960- Angelo moved to Cairo, Egypt where she served as editor of the English language weekly The Arab Observer.

1961- She moved to Ghana, where she taught at the University of Ghana’s School of Music and Drama. She worked as a feature editor for The African Review and wrote for The Ghanaian Times.

1964- Returned to America to help Malcolm X build his new organization of African American Unity.

1970- Published "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," also received the Chubb Fellowship from Yale University. Angelou has received over 50 honorary degrees.

1972- Film "Georgia, Georgia" came out. Angelou wrote the screenplay and composed the score. Her script was the first ever written by an African American woman to be filmed, and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

1977- Appeared in the television adaptation of Alex Haley’s "Roots."

1982- Joined the faculty at Wake Forest University as a Professor of American Studies.

1993- Appeared in John Singleton’s Poetic Justice. Won Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Or Non-Musical Album for “On the Pulse of Morning.”

1995- Won Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Or Non-Musical Album for “Phenomenal Woman.”

1996- Directed her first feature film, Down in the Delta.

2000- Awarded the Presidential Medal of arts.

2002- Won Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album with “A Song Flung Up To Heaven.”

2008- Composed poetry for and narrated the award-winning documentary The Black Candle, directed by M.K. Asante. Also awarded the Lincoln Medal.

2011- Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama at the White House.

May 23, 2014 – Angelou sent her last tweet: “Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”

May 28, 2014- Maya Angelou passes away in her Winston Salem home.