Maya Angelou, Rest in Peace

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President Obama Releases Statement on the Passing of Maya Angelou

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Celebs React to Nelson Mandela’s Passing
President Barack Obama
Photo Credit: Getty Images

President Obama released a statement today acknowledging the life and influence of Dr. Maya Angelou, calling the author "one of the brightest lights of our time."

The President and First Lady join many in honoring the legendary poet who passed away today at the age of 86.

Read the full statement below:

When her friend Nelson Mandela passed away last year, Maya Angelou wrote that “No sun outlasts its sunset, but will rise again, and bring the dawn.” 

PHOTOS: Maya Angelou's Words of Wisdom

 Today, Michelle and I join millions around the world in remembering one of the brightest lights of our time – a brilliant writer, a fierce friend, and a truly phenomenal woman.  Over the course of her remarkable life, Maya was many things – an author, poet, civil rights activist, playwright, actress, director, composer, singer and dancer.  But above all, she was a storyteller – and her greatest stories were true.  A childhood of suffering and abuse actually drove her to stop speaking – but the voice she found helped generations of Americans find their rainbow amidst the clouds, and inspired the rest of us to be our best selves.  In fact, she inspired my own mother to name my sister Maya. 

PHOTOS: 15 Reasons We Love Maya Angelou

"Like so many others, Michelle and I will always cherish the time we were privileged to spend with Maya.  With a kind word and a strong embrace, she had the ability to remind us that we are all God’s children; that we all have something to offer.  And while Maya’s day may be done, we take comfort in knowing that her song will continue, “flung up to heaven” – and we celebrate the dawn that Maya Angelou helped bring.

PHOTO GALLERY: Dr. Maya Angelou's Life In Pictures

  • Portrait of Maya Angelou Circa 1970.
  • Maya Angelou wears a red dress while dancing next to a fire in a promotional portrait taken for the cover of her album, 'Miss Calypso,' 1957.
  • A young Maya Angelou strikes a dance pose.
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