Maya Angelou passed away in her home in Winston-Salem, N.C., her publicist confirms. She was 86 years old.
Angelou was to be honored with the Beacon of Life Award at a lunch in Houston May 30.
Angelou was born on April 4, 1928 and in addition to being a celebrated author and poet, she was an accomplished actor, singer, songwriter, dancer, playwright, historian, director, civil rights activist and teacher.
She received more than 30 honorary degrees from universities around the world.
She was active in the Civil Rights movement and worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.