The world is mourning the loss of beloved author and literary icon Toni Morrison.
Morrison’s family confirmed through publisher, Knopf Doubleday, early Tuesday morning that she passed away on Monday evening following a brief illness. She was 88 years old.
“It is with profound sadness we share that, following a short illness, our adored mother and grandmother, Toni Morrison, passed away peacefully last night surrounded by family and friends,” her family said in a statement shared by USA Today. “She was an extremely devoted mother, grandmother and aunt who reveled in being with her family and friends. The consummate writer who treasured the written word, whether her own, her students or others, she read voraciously and was most at home when writing. Although her passing represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long, well-lived life.”
Morrison was celebrated throughout her career for her unparalleled story-telling ability that captured the essence of Black life like no other. In addition to an endless list of other accolades, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her critically acclaimed novel Beloved in 1988, and she made history in 1993 as the first Black woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. In 2012, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
Morrison also became known as a mentor for young writers of color across several generations through her work as a professor at Princeton University in her later years.
Among Morrison’s most widely-revered literary works were 1970’s The Bluest Eye, 1977’s Song of Solomon, 1987’s Beloved, 2008’s Mercy and 2014’s God Help The Child.
Beloved was later adapted for a 1998 film of the same name. The movie was executive produced by Oprah Winfrey and starred Winfrey, Danny Glover, Kimberly Elise and Thandie Newton, among others.
ESSENCE sends our sincerest condolences to the family of Toni Morrison. May she rest in peace.