Award-winning novelist Toni Morrison, who grew up in Lorain, Ohio, has passed on aged 88.
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf says Morrison died Monday night at Montefiore Medical Center in New York following a brief illness.
The Morrison family confirmed the news “with profound sadness,” saying she died after a short illness.
Morrison, who published her first novel “The Bluest Eye” in 1970, won the Nobel prize for literature in 1993, making her the first black woman to receive the award.
According to BBC, Morrison’s family statement said the “extremely devoted mother, grandmother, and aunt passed away peacefully last night on the 5th August surrounded by 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.”
The family added: “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.”
Morrison also became known as a mentor for young writers of color across several generations through her work as a professor at Princeton University in her later years.
Among Morrison’s most widely-revered literary works were 1970’s The Bluest Eye, 1977’s Song of Solomon, 1987’s Beloved, 2008’s Mercy and 2014’s God Help The Child.