Two independent sources close to Angelou confirmed her death to WXII’s Wanda Starke Wednesday morning. She was 86.
A police car, an ambulance and a hearse were seen outside Angelou’s home on Bartram Road around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. Winston-Salem police said they are at the home to investigate a death but released no other information.
The area near Angelou’s home has been blocked off to try to keep people out of the area, as well as to give respect to the family, WXII’s Talitha Vickers reported.
Angelou had been the Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University since 1982. Wake Forest officials released the following statement:
“Today members of the Wake Forest University community mourn the loss of beloved poet, author, actress, civil rights activist and professor Dr. Maya Angelou. Dr. Angelou was a national treasure whose life and teachings inspired millions around the world, including countless students, faculty, and staff at Wake Forest….Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Angelou’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
Angelou was born April 4, 1928, in St. Louis. At 14, she became San Francisco’s first black female cable car conductor, and in the 1960s, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. asked Angelou to serve as northern coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Angelou received many accolades, including dozens of honorary degrees, the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000 and the Lincoln Medal in 2008.