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Poet and author Maya Angelou dead at 86 years old

Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou

Famed poet, author and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou has died at the age of 86. Dr. Maya Angelou was found dead in her Winston-Salem, N.C., home Wednesday morning.

Wake Forest University announced Angelou's death in a news release Wednesday. Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Jones confirmed Angelou's death to Fox News. Police reportedly were at her home investigating. A press conference is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. ET.

Angelou, who rose from poverty as child become a cultural icon. She earned widespread acclaim for her first book, her autobiography "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," making her one of the first African-American women to write a best-seller.

In 1998, she directed the film "Down in the Delta." Angelou 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.

Major League Baseball announced last week that Angelou would not attend its 2014 Beacon Awards Luncheon, due to health concerns. Angelou also canceled an event in April because of an "unexpected ailment" that sent her to the hospital.