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Media mogul Oprah Winfrey and President of the U.S. Barack Obama have joined many celebrities including Bette Midler, Tony Bennett and Pharrell Williams who all paid their tributes to the late writer/poet Maya Angelou, following her death on Wednesday, May 28.
The beloved author passed away in North Carolina. Her death came just days after ill health urged her to cancel an appearance at a prize giving scheduled for Friday, May 30. Celebrities quickly took to their Twitter.com pages to celebrate her life and career, only minutes after the announcement.
Entertainer Midler was the first to start the storm of people commenting on the 86-year old’s death. She wrote, “The beautiful Maya Angelou died this morning. A big and radiant soul, at rest at last”
Crooner Bennett also wrote, “Maya Angelou was an exceptional writer and human being and her inspiration will continue to enrich us all.”
Rihanna wrote, “The first book I read as a teenager, ‘I know why the caged bird sings’. Felt like we knew her”, and singer and superproducer Williams mused, “Her light will be sorely missed”.
Oprah paid an emotional tribute to her longtime “mentor, mother/sister, and friend”, saying, “She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life. The world knows her as a poet but at the heart of her, she was a teacher. ‘When you learn, teach. When you get, give,’ is one of my best lessons from her…
“She moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence and a fierce grace. I loved her and I know she loved me. I will profoundly miss her. She will always be the rainbow in my clouds.”
Obama, who awarded Maya the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, issued a statement, writing, “(Wife) Michelle and I join millions around the world in remembering one of the brightest lights of our time: a brilliant writer, a fierce friend and a truly phenomenal woman.”
Other stars, including Olivia Wilde, Kerry Washington, Beyonce, William Shatner, Kelly Rowland, Lena Dunham, Olivia Munn, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, rapper Nas, and revered U.S. broadcaster Larry King, also paid their tributes to the lost star.