Renowned Poet and Author Maya Angelou dies at 86

, Posted: Wed, May 28 2014 at 8:32 AM, Updated: Wed, May 28 2014 at 8:38 AM

Renowned Poet and Author Maya Angelou dies at 86

(NBC News) Maya Angelou, the renowned poet, author and civil rights activist with the unmistakably regal voice, has died. The author of the celebrated autobiography "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" was 86 years old.

Officials in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where Angelou lived, confirmed her death to NBC News.

Her death comes less than a week after Angelou announced she would not attend the 2014 MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon, where she was to be honored, citing "health reasons." Last month, she also canceled an event in Fayetteville, Arkansas, because she was recovering from an "unexpected ailment" that left her hospitalized.

"The mayor is very saddened to hear the loss of a woman of such renowned phenomenal status as Dr. Angelou. Our prayers are with her family, her staff and all the people she has worked with," Linda Jackson-Barnes, assistant to Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines, said.

Angelou was born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri, under the name Marguerite Annie Johnson, and was raised in Stamps, Arkansas, and San Francisco, after her parents sent her off to live with her grandmother in California when she was fresh with a white store clerk in Arkansas, the Associated Press reported.

She grew up to become a singer, dancer, actress, writer and Hollywood's first female black director.

Angelou had an impressive list of accolades: She was a three-time Grammy winner and was nominated for a Pulitzer, a Tony, and an Emmy for her role in the 1977 groundbreaking television mini-series "Roots."

Read more: http://nbcnews.to/1kfPQlb

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