The death has been announced of Toni Morrison, the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Morrison, who was 88, passed away after a short illness, her family said in a statement.
"Although her passing represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long, well lived life," they added.
Ohio-born Morrison was best known for her 1987 book Beloved, which won the Pulitzer Prize and was made into a 1998 film starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover.
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Beloved and Morrison's follow-up books, Jazz and Paradise, are referred to as The Beloved Trilogy, chronicling African American history and life.
A former teacher, Morrison's literary career began as an editor before she decided to become a writer herself. Her debut novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970.
She was honoured with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.
She received France's Légion d'Honneur in 2010 and was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by her friend, US President Barack Obama, in 2012.
Morrison's most recent book, God Help the Child, was published in 2015.
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Tributes have been paid to the late author on social media.
The official Twitter feed of the Nobel Prize said she was "one of the most powerful and influential literary forces of our time" while American politician Stacey Abrams hailed her as "a towering intellect, a brilliant scribe of our nation's complex stories, a heartbreaking journalist of our deepest desires, and a groundbreaking author who destroyed precepts, walls and those who dared underestimate her capacity".
"We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives."— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) August 6, 2019
Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison has passed away aged 88. She was one of the most powerful and influential literary forces of our time.
Read more: https://t.co/m6oii2oJ3I pic.twitter.com/sfXEIw4VI2
Toni Morrison was a towering intellect, a brilliant scribe of our nation's complex stories, a heartbreaking journalist of our deepest desires, and a groundbreaking author who destroyed precepts, walls and those who dared underestimate her capacity. Rest well and in peace. pic.twitter.com/nMkxXRtEoz— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) August 6, 2019
In the passing of Toni Morrison, we lost one of our greatest voices & storytellers. Holding close those touched by her being & her gift. Her work gave us power, hope & freedom. While our world shines a little less bright today, we know "something that is loved is never lost."— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) August 6, 2019
Like honestly has there ever been a baddie as bad as Toni Morrison? A woman who published her first novel at 39 after waking up every morning at 4 to write before getting her kids to school and going to work editing books by white men then ended up winning the full NOBEL PRIZE???— Jeremy O. Harris (@jeremyoharris) August 6, 2019
"If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it." -Toni Morrison RIP pic.twitter.com/0K1AZtoll6— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) August 6, 2019
"we die. that may be the meaning of life. but we do language. that may be the measure of our lives." — toni morrison 💐 pic.twitter.com/0mDaTwCjls— akwaeke emezi (@azemezi) August 6, 2019
One of the greatest things I ever heard was "The function of freedom is to free someone else."— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) August 6, 2019
That quote echoes in my soul, it's why we protest, it’s why we yell, it’s why we write, it’s why we do the work.
Thank you for teaching and loving us, rest well, Toni Morrison. pic.twitter.com/LvEDZZwchI
I am heartbroken. But my God, what a rich, meaningful life. What a testimony of courageous love & fearlessness - she called us to do more and to be bolder in the world. Thank you, #ToniMorrison.— Well-Read Black Girl ™ (@wellreadblkgirl) August 6, 2019
Let us all find the words to say THANK YOU! Share how her work transformed you... pic.twitter.com/8BAy9zUuQp