Maya Angelou, One of America's Greatest Poets, Dead at 86


The news: Maya Angelou, legendary poet, artist, educator and civil rights activist, died Wednesday morning. She was 86.

The mayor of Winston-Salem, N.C., Allen Joines, confirms that Angelou was found unresponsive by her caretaker in her North Carolina home.

While her cause of death remains unconfirmed, Angelou had canceled a scheduled appearance at the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon in Houston last Friday, citing undisclosed health reasons. The month prior, she canceled an appearance in Fayetteville, Ark., under similar circumstances.

Angelou served as Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2010. With the 1972 film Georgia, Georgia, she became the first black woman to have a screenplay produced in Hollywood.

Her poems include the iconic "Caged Bird" and "Still I Rise."

This story is developing. Updates to follow.