Maya Angelou Dies at 86

Maya Angelou Dies at 86

Maya Angelou, America’s beloved poet laureate, is dead at age 86.

Many don't know that long before Maya Angelou was famed for her books and poetry, she made her mark in show biz.

In 1957, she sang and swayed in a movie called Calypso Heat Wave. In a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, Angelou laughed and even sang along with the Calypso performance of her youth.

The woman who rose from a childhood of poverty and oppression to worldwide fame as a writer passed away at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, after she suffered a heart ailment.

Angelou's family said in a statement, "She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace...and we know that she is looking down upon us with love."

President Obama honored Maya Angelou with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. At the Clinton Inauguration in 1993, Angelou electrified the crowd with a reading of the poem "On the Pulse of Morning," which she wrote especially for the occasion.

Maya Angelou told INSIDE EDITION, “It's wondrous to live a long life!" when our April Woodard sat down with her shortly before her 80th birthday. She brought Woodard to tears after she recited her famous poem, "Still I Rise."

She said, "Over time, I’ve found some things to be true. The accumulation of truths is called wisdom, so I have some wisdom. And that gives me some peace, some calm."

Angelou was due to be honored on Friday with a Beacon of Life Award in Houston. Though frail in her later years, she was philosophical about getting old, saying, "The knees go, the hips go, you become a bit forgetful. But if you have a chance to grow older, do it with some grace and some style."

Maya Angelou's final tweet reflects those qualities, as well as her enduring faith, "Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God."