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Toni Morrison, Pulitzer Prize winning author, Poet Laureate, dies at 88

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Toni Morrison

African-American author Toni Morrison is dead at the age of 88.  According to her publisher, Morrison died last night following a short illness in New York and surrounded by family and friends.  She is best known for her novel "Beloved," which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.  Morrison's first novel was published in 1970.  In 1993, Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, making her the first African-American woman to win a Nobel Prize for Literature.  In 2012, former President Obama presented Morrison with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award for a civilian in the United States.

In a statement through her publisher, Morrison's family said she was a devoted mother, grandmother and aunt "who reveled in being with her family and friends."  Her family said Morrison was most at home when she was writing and were grateful she had a long, well lived life.