Toni Morrison, the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, is gone. But her unique voice – earthy, poetic, powerful, elliptical – endures in novels like "Beloved, "Song of Solomon," "Sula" and "The Bluest Eye."
She died Monday at age 88 in New York following a short illness, according to her family and publisher.
The Morrison family issued this statement via Morrison's publisher: “It is with profound sadness we share that, following a short illness, our adored mother and grandmother, Toni Morrison, passed away peacefully last night surrounded by family and friends. She was an extremely devoted mother, grandmother and aunt who reveled in being with her family and friends. 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."
The family continued: "While we would like to thank everyone who knew and loved her, personally or through her work, for their support at this difficult time, we ask for privacy as we mourn this loss to our family. We will share information in the near future about how we will celebrate Toni’s incredible life.”
Morrison won a Pulitzer, the Nobel Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.