Author, poet and activist Maya Angelou dies aged 86

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Famed American author and civil rights activist Maya Angelou has died, aged 86.

Angelou, best-known for her 1969 memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which caused controversy for its depiction of lesbianism, pornography, and violence, died on Wednesday morning according to officials at the city of Winston-Salem mayor’s office.

The celebrated author and poet was reportedly found by her caretaker.

Despite declining health, she remained active, and sent her last tweet on 23 May, reading: “Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”

IN a 1996 speech at the GALA Festival, with a message of shared humanity she said: “I am gay… I am lesbian. I am black. I am white. I am Native American. I am Christian. I am Jew. I am Muslim.”

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was featured in the third position on the American Library Association’s 100 Frequently Challenged Books list between 1990 and 2000, and sixth between 2000 and 2009.

Angelou also famously said: “Until we’re all free, no one’s free.”