Harper Lee, the legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning author whose 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird remains a highly studied piece of American literature to this day, has passed away. Sources confirm to AL.com that Lee, 89, passed in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.
The reclusive author released a follow-up to Mockingbird, entitled Go Set a Watchman, in the summer of last year. Though marketed as a sequel to the original story, most now acknowledge that the work is an earlier draft of the original Mockingbird that includes additional insight into the fate of Atticus and Scout Finch. Both stories deal directly with the prevalence of systemic racism in the Deep South, a subject which inspired both praise and controversy.
In 2007, Lee suffered a stroke but was eventually able to recover before returning to Monroeville. Lee, a staunchly private writer, generally avoided interviews and additional interactions with the press. In a rare 1964 interview excerpted by AL.com, Nelle Harper Lee described her upbringing as follows:
"I was born in a little town called Monroeville, Alabama, on April 28, 1926. I went to school in the local grammar school, went to high school there, and then went to the University of Alabama. That's about it, as far as education goes."
Memorial services, at time of publication, have not been announced. Shortly after Lee's passing was confirmed, celebrities and public figures quickly took to Twitter to pay their respects and look back on the legacy of To Kill a Mockingbird:
Rest in power, Harper Lee.