WINSTON-SALEM,N.C. (AP)-- Author and poet Maya Angelou, who rose from poverty, segregation and violence to become a force on stage, screen and the printed page, has died. She was 86.
Wake Forest University announced Angelou's death in a news release Wednesday. Her cause of death has not yet been released. But according to her friends and family, she had been sick recently and was also having heart problems.
Angelou's list of accomplishments is vast. Throughout her lifetime, she spoke and wrote about the struggles of African Americans and women in particular.
In 1969, her book, "I Know Where the Caged Bird Sings", was a memoir of her childhood in the South when Jim Crow laws were a part of everyday life. It was one of the first times a black woman wrote a best-selling book.
On top of her writing career, Angelou was also a Tony Award-nominated actress, a college professor, and frequent T.V. show guest on shows like Oprah.
In 1998, she directed the film "Down in the Delta" about a drug-wrecked woman who returns to the home of her ancestors in the Mississippi Delta.
She was the poet chosen to read at President Bill Clinton's first inauguration in 1993. She wrote and read an original composition, "On the Pulse of Morning," which became a million-seller.
In 2011, Angelou received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the highest awards someone can get in America from the President.
Angelou will also be remembered as one of the most quotable Americans of all-time.Especially poignant today is the last tweet she sent out last Friday which read, "Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God."