Author Toni Morrison has died at the age of 88. Her publisher, Knopf, confirmed she passed away on Monday, August 5 at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York.
Toni published her first novel, The Bluest Eye, in 1970. She published ten subsequent novels, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for her classic work, Beloved. In 1992, she won the Nobel Prize for Literature. President Barack Obama gave her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. Her most recent novel, God Help the Child, was published in 2015. She also published several works of nonfiction.
Before her writing career took off, Toni worked as an editor at Random House, publishing books by greats like Muhammad Ali and Angela Davis. She also became a professor, chairing the Humanities department at Princeton University, where she taught from 1986 to 2006.
Her family said in a statement, “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.”
Toni is survived by her son Harold and her three grandchildren. Her son Slade died in 2010.
“We die,” the author said when she gave her Nobel Prize address.. “That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”