High acclaimed author Toni Morrison passed away Monday night at the age of 88, according to a statement by her publisher Knopf:

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:

About The Author

Sara Roncero-Menendez

A reporter by trade, Sara is a lover of horror, sci-fi, and all things pop culture. From indies to classics to even the strangest schlock, all movies and TV shows are fair game. She believes Batman is the most fascinating superhero, and that Silent Hill is one of the best horror franchises ever made (as long as you don't count the movies).Fun Fact: The only movie Sara will not rewatch is The Room -- once was more than enough.