High acclaimed author Toni Morrison passed away Monday night at the age of 88, according to a statement by her publisher Knopf:
We are profoundly sad to report that Toni Morrison has died at the age of eighty-eight.
“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”
February 18, 1931 – August 5, 2019 pic.twitter.com/DWnElCpMKc
— Alfred A. Knopf (@AAKnopf) August 6, 2019
Morrison wrote such important works as Beloved and The Bluest Eye. She won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 (the first Black woman to do so), as well as the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. She died at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, though the cause of death has not been released at this time.
Here is the statement released by her family:
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.
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.
“Toni Morrison’s working life was spent in the service of literature: writing books, reading books, editing books, teaching books. I can think of few writers in American letters who wrote with more humanity or with more love for language than Toni,” Knopf Chairman Sonny Mehta said in a statement to HuffPost. “Her narratives and mesmerizing prose have made an indelible mark on our culture. Her novels command and demand our attention. They are canonical works, and more importantly, they are books that remain beloved by readers.”
Here are some of her colleagues and fans’ thoughts on her passing:
Toni Morrison was simply everything to me. She gave me the language to love myself, to understand this world and taught me to be brave in the face of anything and everything. I’m so devastated that she is gone and so grateful that she was here to teach this little black girl.
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) August 6, 2019
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” -Toni Morrison RIP pic.twitter.com/0K1AZtoll6
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) August 6, 2019
Toni Morrison is an eternal inspiring and elevating force.
Unabashedly Black, woman, brilliant, beautiful, and strong. Though she has many descendants (living and to come), there will never be another. pic.twitter.com/OlkRBnU4Up
— Raquel Willis (@RaquelWillis_) August 6, 2019
"You made American English honest—genuinely international. You exposed its secrets and reshaped it until it was truly modern, dialogic, representative, humane. You stripped it of ease and false comfort."
From Toni Morrison's eulogy of James Baldwin, but just as applicable to her pic.twitter.com/z1pj3tv822
— Soraya Nadia McDonald (@SorayaMcDonald) August 6, 2019
When giants pass, you should look up to see them.
RIP, Toni Morrison. https://t.co/vtpek35ZwF
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 6, 2019