The celebrated poet, author and civil rights activist passed away on Wednesday in her North Carolina home
Acclaimed author and poet Maya Angelou died Wednesday morning at age 86, according to officials at the city of Winston-Salem mayor’s office.
Angelou recently cancelled a scheduled appearance at the 2014 MLB Beacon Award Luncheon, where she was to be honored with the Beacon of Life Award, due to health problems. An official at the Winston-Salem mayor’s office confirmed to TIME that the poet had passed away.
Angelou has been honored with more than 50 awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for her collected works of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, including her groundbreaking memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which made history as one of the first nonfiction best-sellers by an African-American woman.