The beloved author of “To Kill a Mockingbird” has passed away. Harper Lee was 89. The death announcement was confirmed by Random House, who tweeted the following tribute.
Today we lost a beautiful writer. RIP Harper Lee. pic.twitter.com/aA0SgyV0j1
— Random House (@randomhouse) February 19, 2016
Born April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, Alabama, Lee was the youngest of four children of lawyer Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee. She was childhood friends with fellow author, Truman Capote, on whom she based the Mockingbird character Dill.
Lee’s death was shocking but the cause has not yet been released. Her health had been declining since 2007 when she suffered a stroke. However, Lee seemed to be recovering over the last year.
In 2015 a long lost sequel to her iconic novel was published. “Go Set a Watchman” was released to much anticipation and then acclaim. Yet, speculation abounded over whether her mental state in her final years was sound and especially whether she really wanted that final novel to be released.
Lee, who granted her last interview in 1964, was a private person and most of her 89 years were spent guardedly in her hometown. In 2007, Lee was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, for her outstanding contribution to literature by then president George W. Bush.
She will forever remain one of the most iconic American authors.