Harper Lee, beloved for her Pulitzer Prize winning book To Kill a Mockingbird, has died at age 89, according to al.com. The death announcement was confirmed by Random House, who tweeted the following tribute.
Lee’s cause of death has not been released as of press time. In 2007, the author suffered a stroke, but recovered and even recently published a controversial sequel to her 1961 classic titled Go Set a Watchman. Much speculation has unfolded over Lee’s mental state in those final years, and whether she intended Go Set a Watchman to be released or was the victim of some sort of manipulation. None of those issues stopped the book from being a massive financial success when it hit the shelves.
Born April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, Alabama, Lee was the youngest of four children of lawyer Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee. Her childhood friend was author Truman Capote, on whom she based the Mockingbird character Dill.
Lee, who granted her last interview in 1964, was a private person and most of her 89 years were spent guardedly in her hometown. Its residents respected and protected her from inquiries, and held an annual theatrical production of To Kill a Mockingbird.
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.
Services for Lee have not yet been announced.