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Toni Morrison dies at 88

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Author Toni Morrison has died.

The acclaimed “Beloved” and “Jazz” writer died Monday at 88 in New York, according to her publisher, Alfred A. Knopf.

Morrison was honored with virtually every literary award imaginable over her decades-long career — including the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award.

{mosads}In 2012, then-President Obama awarded Morrison the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award. At the ceremony at the White House, Obama lauded Morrison’s writing for “using a tone that is lyrical, precise, distinct, and inclusive.”

“Toni Morrison’s prose brings us that kind of moral and emotional intensity that few writers ever attempt,” Obama said.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Obama said Morrison’s work “was not just beautiful but meaningful— a challenge to our conscience and a call to greater empathy.”

Several school districts across the country attempted to ban some of Morrison’s works. Her 1970 novel “The Bluest Eye” was banned in some schools in Oregon and Colorado for being “sexually explicit.” Several school districts also challenged, and some banned, her 1977 book “Song of Solomon.”

Morrison’s family said in a Tuesday statement provided by her publisher that the Ohio-born novelist was a “consummate writer who treasured the written word.”

“Although her passing represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long, well lived life,” her family said.

In 1998, Morrison made headlines for dubbing then-President Clinton the nation’s “first black president” in a New Yorker essay. She endorsed then-Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) 2008 White House bid, writing at the time that “this is one of those singular moments that nations ignore at their peril.”

Following news of Morrison’s death, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democratic 2020 presidential candidate, and several other lawmakers and White House hopefuls took to social media to praise her.

—Updated at 11:41 a.m.

Tags Barack Obama Bernie Sanders Jazz Katherine Clark Kirsten Gillibrand Literature Nobel Prize Pulitzer Prize Tim Ryan Toni Morrison

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