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Obama pays tribute as 'brightest literary light' Maya Angelou dies at 86

US president Barack Obama has paid tribute to author and poet Maya Angelou, who has died at the age of 86.

She rose from poverty, segregation and violence to become a force on stage, screen and the printed page.

Ms Angelou gained acclaim for her first book, her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, making her one of the first African-American women to write a best-seller.

In 1998, she directed the film Down in the Delta about a drug-wrecked woman who returns to the home of her ancestors in the Mississippi Delta.

Ms Angelou was the poet chosen to read at former US president Bill Clinton's first inauguration in 1993.

She wrote and read an original composition, On the Pulse of Morning, which became a million-seller.

Mr Obama said: "When her friend Nelson Mandela passed away last year, Maya Angelou wrote that 'no sun outlasts its sunset, but will rise again, and bring the dawn'.

"Today, Michelle and I join millions around the world in remembering one of the brightest lights of our time – a brilliant writer, a fierce friend, and a truly phenomenal woman.

"Over the course of her remarkable life, Maya was many things – an author, poet, civil rights activist, playwright, actress, director, composer, singer and dancer. But above all, she was a storyteller – and her greatest stories were true."

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