Legendary Author & Civil Rights Activist Maya Angelou Dies at 86

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The world has lost a phenomenal woman.

Maya Angelou, the legendary novelist and civil rights activist whose landmark book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was among the first autobiographies by a 20th-century black woman to reach a wide general readership, died on Wednesday at the age of 86.

CNN reports that Angelou's literary agent, Helen Brann, confirmed the news. Brann said Angelou passed away in her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

An immediate cause of death has not been determined, but according to her longtime literary agent, Angelou had heart problems and had been in frail health for quite some time.

Angelou leaves behind an extraordinary legacy which includes inspiring words and accomplishments, such as receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

"We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated." --Maya Angelou

R.I.P Ms. Angelou, you have inspired us all.

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Priscilla Rodriguez, Senior Editor

Priscilla Rodriguez is Latina.com’s Senior Editor. She provides coverage on nearly every topic with a focus on celebrity entertainment. Before hitting the pavement at Latina, Priscilla worked for various outlets including Teen.com, InStyle and Us Weekly. You can follow her on Twitter @priscilrodrig.

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