Many Hollywood stars mourn the death of Maya Angelou, a poet and author who passed away at the age of 86 on Wednesday, May 28 at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. "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," read a statement from her family.
Shortly after the sad news emerged, social media were flooded with tribute to the beloved figure. "Saddened by the news of Maya Angelou's passing. A brilliant woman who contributed so much to the world. Her light will be sorely missed," Pharrell Williams tweeted.
Oprah Winfrey, meanwhile, shared a photo of her and Angelou on her Instagram and shared a lengthy tribute. "I've been blessed to have Maya Angelou as my mentor, mother/sister, and friend since my 20â��s. She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life," she wrote.
"Thank you, Maya, for your power, your politics, your poetry. We need you more than ever. Rest in peace," Lena Dunham wrote. Rihanna also thanked the late poet in her Twitter post. In her tweet, Ellen DeGeneres called Angelou one of the world's greatest gifts. Kelly Rowland, Alyssa Milano, Ronan Farrow, Lucy Hale and J.K. Rowling additionally shared quotes from the author on their respective account.
In a statement, President Barack Obama said, "Like so many others, Michelle and I will always cherish the time we were privileged to spend with Maya. With a kind word and a strong embrace, she had the ability to remind us that we are all God's children; that we all have something to offer. And while Maya's day may be done, we take comfort in knowing that her song will continue, 'flung up to heaven' - and we celebrate the dawn that Maya Angelou helped bring."
Back in 1993, Angelou recited a poem called "On the Pulse of Morning" in President Bill Clinton's inauguration. "With Maya Angelou's passing, America has lost a national treasure; and Hillary and I, a beloved friend. The poems and stories she wrote and read to us in her commanding voice were gifts of wisdom and wit, courage and grace," Clinton said.
Angelou was born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 4, 1928. She debuted as an author in 1969 with biography "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings". Angelou was also an actress, appearing on TV shows as well as stage plays. She started teaching American studies at Wake Forest University in 1982.
Rest with the angels, Maya Angelou. pic.twitter.com/iPNSvui8BL— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) May 28, 2014