Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, the renowned author of acclaimed novels such as "Beloved" and "Song of Solomon," died at the age of 88, her family said.
The author, who was a seminal voice in African-American literature, died on Monday night at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.
"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," Morrison's family said in a statement, as cited by Al Jazeera.
"Although her passing represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long, well-lived life," the statement added, describing her as "the consummate writer who treasured the written word," the statement added.
Morrison published a total of 11 books during a career spanning over five decades and was the first black woman to receive a Noble prize. Her work, which delved into the themes of race and racism, among others, helped raise United States' multiculturalism to the world stage.
Taking to Twitter, Former President of United States Barack Obama called the author a "national treasure", one who was as captivating in person as in her writing.
"Toni Morrison was a national treasure, as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page. Her writing was a beautiful, mengful challenge to our conscience and our moral imagination. What a gift to breathe the same air as her, if only for a while," the tweet read.
Morrison was born in Ohio during the great depression. Her best-known work "Beloved" is set against the backdrop of the US civil war, and is based on the story of a woman who killed her two-year-old daughter to save the child from slavery. The book was later adapted for a movie starring Oprah Winfrey.
( With inputs from ANI )