Toni Morrison, Author of 'Beloved,' Dies at 88

Playing Nobel Prize-Winning Author Toni Morrison Dies at 88: 'Rest, Queen'

Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison has died. She was 88.

Morrison, who wrote "Beloved" and "Song of Solomon," passed away at Montefiore Medical Center in New York on Monday, publisher Alfred A. Knopf confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

In a statement, her family said she passed away peacefully following a short illness. She was surrounded by loved ones.

"She was an extremely devoted mother, grandmother, and aunt who reveled in being with her family and friends," read the statement, which was shared by Princeton University, where Morrison was a professor emeritus.

"The consummate writer who treasured the written word, whether her own, her students or others, she read voraciously and was most at home when writing. Although her passing represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long, well-lived life."

Morrison wrote 11 novels, including several works of non-fiction. She wrote of the unique tragedies and triumphs of the African American experience in rich, sometimes mystical prose.

She was hailed as a "visionary force" when she won the Nobel literature prize in 1993, becoming the first black woman to do so.

"Beloved" won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1988. In 2012, President Obama presented her the Medal of Freedom at the White House.

In June, a documentary about her life, "Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am," directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, was released.

"There are writers and then there's Toni Morrison," Greenfield-Sanders said in an interview with WCBS in June.

As word of Morrison's death spread Tuesday, messages of grief and remembrance were shared by those who admired her.

"Her unmatched ability to use story to kindle empathy and rouse the imaginations of millions to contemplate lived experiences other than their own has transformed our culture," PEN America, a nonprofit that honored Morrison with its Literary Service Award in 2008, said in a statement Tuesday. "Her faithfulness to fellow writers and the cause of literature was unparalleled."

Others shared tributes on social media.

"This is a devastating loss to the world of words," tweeted writer Roxane Gay.

Chance the Rapper called her an "incredibly powerful and impactful woman."

"She made me understand 'writer' was a fine profession," Shonda Rhimes tweeted. "I grew up wanting to be only her.  Dinner with her was a night I will never forget.  Rest, Queen."

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