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Toni Morrison, the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature has passed. Morrison passes Monday at age 88 in New York following a short illness.

The Morrison family issued a statement “It is with profound sadness we share that, following a short illness, our adored mother and grandmother, Toni Morrison, passed away peacefully last night surrounded by family and friends. 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.”

The family continued by saying “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.”

Toni Morrison was an novelist, essayist, editor, teacher and professor at Princeton University. She won the Pulitzer Prize an the American Book Award in 1988 for her Book “Beloved”, which was later adapted into a film starring Oprah Winfrey in 1998. Morrison received the Nobel Prize in Literature  in 1993. In 1996, the National  Empowerment for the Humanities selected her for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government’s highest honor for achievement in the humanities. She was also honored with the National Book Foundation’s Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. President Barack Obama presented Morrison with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, the highest civilian honor in the United States. Toni Morrison will be miss and legacy will live on rest in peace.