Poet, author Maya Angelou dead at 86
Maya Angelou speaks at Community College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas on Feb. 12, 1995. Image by Las Vegas News Bureau, Brian Jones
Award-winning author, poet and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou has died, according to various media reports.
Angelou was 86 at the time of her death. According to Fox 8 News, she was found by her caretaker early Wednesday morning in her North Carolina home.
Angelou has been battling health problems in recent months, and had cancelled a scheduled May 30 appearance at the 2014 MLB Beacon Award Luncheon in Houston.
The author of such famed literary works as her memoir titled "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" and "On The Pulse of Morning" also cancelled appearances in April in Fayetteville, Ark.
Angelou read "On The Pulse of Morning" at Bill Clinton's 1993 presidential inauguration.
According to ABC News, Angelou had been very frail and had heart problems before her death. However, she was working on a new book and appeared to be fine on Tuesday.
Angelou was born in St. Louis, Mo., as Marguerite Annie Johnson. She was sent to live in the small Arkansas town of Stamps after her parents divorced when she was three years old.
According to Wikipedia, Angelou became a poet and writer after a series of occupations as a young adult that included fry cook, prostitute, nightclub dancer, actress and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the days of decolonization.
She was active in the Civil Rights movement and worked with both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcom X. She was also one of the first black women film directors, and her work on Broadway was nominated for several Tony awards.
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Angelou received more than 30 honorary degrees, the National Medal of Arts, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in her lifetime.