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Medal of Freedom Recipient Maya Angelou Dies at 86 (FishbowlDC)
Poet and author Maya Angelou died Wednesday 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. NYT The cause of death was not immediately known, but Brann said Angelou had been frail for some time and had heart problems. GalleyCat In addition to writing, Angelou proved to be an accomplished Renaissance woman who worked as an activist, entertainer, streetcar conductor, magazine editor, college professor and lecturer. CNN Angelou’s legacy is twofold. She leaves behind a body of important artistic work that influenced several generations. But the 86-year-old was praised by those who knew her as a good person, a woman who pushed for justice and education and equality. In her full life, she wrote staggeringly beautiful poetry. She also wrote a cookbook and was nominated for a Tony. Reuters Literary and entertainment figures, politicians and fans mourned her passing on Wednesday. Obama said his sister, Maya, was named for the author, whom he called “a brilliant writer, a fierce friend and a truly phenomenal woman.” Media mogul Oprah Winfrey, who frequently threw lavish birthday parties for Angelou and considered her a mentor, said she would remember her friend most for how she lived her life. “She moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence and a fierce grace,” Winfrey said.