Nobel Laureate Tony Morrison has died after a short illness.
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf says Morrison died Monday night at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York. She was 88 years old.
Her family said in a statement that they were saddened by her passing, but happy that she had lived the life she had made.
"Tony Morrison died peacefully last night, surrounded by family and friends," the family said. "She was an extremely devoted mother, grandmother and aunt who revealed she was with her family and friends. She is the perfect writer to spell the written word, whether she, her students or others, read it aloud and was at home writing. "
"Although her passing is a huge loss, we are grateful that she has had a long, well-lived life," they said.
Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize and the 1988 American Book Award for loveShe also writes The blueest eye and Songs of Solomon.
She was the first black woman to receive the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature.
The Swedish Academy welcomes the use of language and its "visionary power".
Her novel love, in which a mother makes the tragic choice of killing her baby to save the girl from slavery, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988.
Oprah Winfrey turned the book into a movie in which she also starred.
Born in Loren, OH, in 1931, Morrison is the second of four working-class African-American children. Born Chloe Ardelia Wofford, she was encouraged by her parents to read and think and was impressed by the white children in their community. Remembering how she felt like an "aristocrat," Morrison believed she was smarter and took it for granted that she was wiser.
She was a high school student and attended Howard University in 1949 because she dreamed of a life spent among black intellectuals.
He earned a degree in English before continuing to earn a Master of Arts in Cornell in 1955.
He married his first husband, a Jamaican architect by the name of Harold Morrison, in 1958, but they divorced in 1964 while she was pregnant with her second son. They christened their two children Harold and Slade.
Morrison began working for Random House in 1965 and became the first black female senior editor in her art department.
She was 39 when she published her first novel, The blueest eye, in 1970, based on a childhood memory of a black girl in Loren – raped by her father – who wants blue eyes.
Morrison was proud of the gift of applying "invisible ink" by making a point and letting the reader discover it, such as her decision to refuse skin color or character descriptions in paradise,
Morrison's breakthrough came in 1977 with Songs of Solomon, her third novel, and the young, Milkman Dead's sexual, social and prior history. It was the first work by a black writer of Richard Wright's time A son born to be a complete Book of the Month selection and win the National Book Criticism Award.
By the early 1960s, after only six novels, she had become the first black woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, honored in 1993 by the Swedish Academy for proficiency in "language itself, language she wants to release" from black categories and white.
Morrison also co-authored several children's books with his son, Slade Morrison (who died of cancer in 2010).
Morrison helped elevate American multiculturalism on the world stage and helped to obscure her country's past, uncovering the lives of the unknown and the unwanted, what she would call "unfree at the core of the democratic experiment."
In her novels, history – black history – was a path of poetry, tragedy, love, adventure, and good old gossip, whether in the small town of Ohio in Sula or the big city of Haarlem in jazz,
She views race as a social construct, and through language, establishes a better world for which her characters suffer.
Morrison highlighted everything from African literature and slave folklore to the Bible and Gabriel Garcia Marquez in a wide variety, but harmonious, of literary communities.
"The story was never just fun for me," she said in her Nobel lecture. "I believe this is one of the main ways we absorb knowledge."
Both Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama were huge fans of Morrison's work, with the latter awarding her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
"Maya Angelo helped me, without her knowing it," Morrison told the Associated Press during a 1998 interview. "When writing her first book, I know why the bird in the cage singsI was an editor at Random House. She was doing so well and never said, "Who am I? My little book? "I decided … winning a (Nobel) prize is great," Morrison added. "Nobody would accept it and turn it into something else. I felt representative. I felt American. I felt Ohio. I felt blacker than ever. I felt more woman than ever. I felt it all and collected it all and went out and had a good time. "
She taught at Princeton University, retiring in 2006, but also had an apartment in downtown Manhattan and a riverfront house in New York Rockland, which burned in 1993, destroying manuscripts, the first issues of Faulkner and other writers and numerous family memories. She remodeled the house and continued to live and work there.
"When I don't think of a novel or actually write it, it's not very good; The 21st century is not a very pleasant place. I need him (in writing) to stay stable, emotional, "she told the AP in 2012.