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Mourning the passing of Maya Angelou dead at 86

Maya Angelou honored with the 2010 Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Barack Obama.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The heart of America is mourning today for the great loss of poet, author and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou. Her legacy lives on the lives of so many. Dead at the age of 86, Maya Angelou passed away Wednesday morning at her home in North Carolina.

Angelou’s agent, Helen Brann told ABC News, "She'd been very frail and had heart problems, but she was going strong, finishing a new book. I spoke to her yesterday. She was fine, as she always was. Her spirit was indomitable."

As a pioneer and trail blazer, she served as a great woman of honor in her fight for equality and peace with such expressions of grace and faith.

Angelou was a mentor to many including various presidents. She spoke at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton, and in 2011, President Barack Obama awarded her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In an interview last November with ABC News Angelou said, “"I'm learning that I have patience and that patience is a great gift," she said. "I know that people only do what they know to do. Not what they say they know, not what they think they should know. ... People do only what they know how to do, so I have patience. I pray that people will have patience with themselves and learn more."

A good friend to many, including Oprah Winfrey, Angelou shared her wisdom with the world in the best way she knew how. Through her written works, Angelou stood tall. As the phenomenal woman of the past several decades, she was a remarkable force with a heart of gold and a beautiful mind.

Her family released this statement today on Facebook:

"Dr. Maya Angelou passed quietly in her home before 8:00 a.m. EST. Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belabored by a loss of acuity or comprehension. She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. 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."

In a statement, Robert Loomis, Angelou's editor of more than forty years, said, "Maya, a dear friend, helped change our hearts and minds about the African American experience in the United States, bringing it to vivid life, and her spirit and energy crossed all borders and deeply affected readers around the world."

Stars and politicians took to the media including Twitter to express their condolences on behalf of this legendary woman.

One of them sums it best, @ForestWhitaker said, "We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty" - Maya Angelou

A phenomenal woman with a significant history and a faith which rose above the mountaintops, who possessed a beauty only God’s hand could have created, RIP dear Maya Angelou.

A personal note from Woman’s Spirituality:

“As a writer, I am here today because of your wonderful works. I did not know you, but you have impacted my life here on earth. In heaven today, may you serve our Loving Savior with all the glory you gave to each of us.”

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