WASHINGTON -- Poet Maya Angelou touched the lives of millions of people through her inspirational words and prolific writings.
She counted world leaders and celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Bill and Hillary Clinton and even South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu among her many friends.
She was selected to read during former President Clinton's inauguration in 1993.
For that event, Angelou wrote and read an original composition, "On the Pulse of Morning," which became a million-seller.
She was the author of more than 30 best-selling works, including "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."
The professor of American studies at Wake Forest University also worked in film and TV and has won three Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts and the Lincoln Medal.
"I'm not modest," she told The Associated Press in 2013.
"I have no modesty. Modesty is a learned behavior. But I do pray for humility, because humility comes from the inside out."
Fans have taken to Twitter to express their sadness following Angelou's death Wednesday morning at the age of 86:
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." - Maya Angelou.— Mary J. Blige (@maryjblige) May 28, 2014
#MayaAngelou took me on my very first trip to Africa as a kid. We've been like mother and son since. What a life, what a legacy.— Tavis Smiley (@tavissmiley) May 28, 2014
NYC and the world have lost a voice of conscience and hope in #MayaAngelou.— Carolyn B. Maloney (@RepMaloney) May 28, 2014
Thank you, #MayaAngelou, for teaching the rest of us how to use words with bravery and grace to move the world to tears and action.— Jodi Picoult (@jodipicoult) May 28, 2014
I'm a woman Phenomenally. #MayaAngelou— Victoria's Secret (@VictoriasSecret) May 28, 2014
One of the most extraordinary moments of my life was styling #MayaAngelou for Essence cover & she locked us in the bathroom to chat— MichaelaAngela Davis (@MichaelaAngelaD) May 28, 2014
You challenged the dark silence,Your words empowered & inspired, the determined human spirit could defeat all foes "Still I Rise" #RIPMAYA— MC HAMMER (@MCHammer) May 28, 2014
Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.— Maya Angelou (@DrMayaAngelou) May 23, 2014
"We encounter many defeats, but we must never be defeated." #MayaAngelou: Thank you for illuminating our world. RIP. Your light shines on.— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) May 28, 2014
"I've learned that you shouldn't go thru life w/ a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back." -Maya Angelou— Ryan Seacrest (@RyanSeacrest) May 28, 2014
Her words, poetry and stories were so stirring. And her activism was inspiring. Sad to read about the passing of Maya Angelou. RIP.— Marlee Matlin (@MarleeMatlin) May 28, 2014
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