Take a moment of silence; Maya Angelou has died.

The writer of many brilliant works of autobiography and poetry, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, has passed on at the age of 86. She died in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she taught at Wake Forest University, Wednesday morning.

In addition to her work on the page, Angelou was a street car conductor, actress, filmmaker, and civil rights activist. Her influence and achievements cannot be understated.

For a sense of her inimitable style, intelligence, and grace, read this interview with George Plimpton in The Paris Review.

"Though I do manage to mumble around in about seven or eight languages, English remains the most beautiful of languages. It will do anything."—Maya Angelou

[via MyFox8]