How Old Was Toni Morrison When She Died?

The world lost another good one. Yesterday, critically acclaimed author Toni Morrison passed away. She died at Montefiore Medical Center from complications with pneumonia.

“It is with profound sadness we share that, following a short illness, our adored mother and grandmother, Toni Morrison, passed away peacefully last night surrounded by family and friends,” her family said in a statement. 

“She was an extremely devoted mother, grandmother, and aunt who reveled in being with her family and friends.  The consummate writer who treasured the written word, whether her own, her students or others, she read voraciously and was most at home when writing.  Although her passing represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long, well lived life.”

“While we would like to thank everyone who knew and loved her, personally or through her work, for their support at this difficult time, we ask for privacy as we mourn this loss to our family.  We will share information in the near future about how we will celebrate Toni’s incredible life.”

Morrison’s work and achievements

Morrison published several novels, essays, and short stories, but she is best known for “Beloved” and “The Bluest Eye.”

In 1988, she received a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for “Beloved.” And in 1993, she became the first African American to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Later, she would be awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President Barack Obama in 2012.

Morrison’s work focused on the black experience in America. When asked in an interview in 1998 if she would ever write substantially about white people, she said no.

“You can’t understand how powerfully racist that question is, can you?” she asked the interviewer, Jana Wendt. “You could never ask a white author, ‘When are you going to write about Black people?’ Whether he did or not, or she did or not. Even the inquiry comes from a position of being in the center.'”

How old was Morrison when she died?

Morrison was 88 years old when she passed away.

Reactions to Morrison’s death

Celebrities, authors, and fans alike have been mourning the death of Morrison since the news was announced.

“Toni Morrison’s powerful writing taught us all new ways to lead, new ways to fight, and reminds us of the humanity in others,” Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren tweeted. “As I think about her passing, her words fill me with hope. ‘Your life is already a miracle of chance waiting for you to shape its destiny.'”

Stephen King also sent his condolences.

“So sorry that Toni Morrison has passed,” he wrote on Twitter. “She was a giant.”

Even Obama addressed her death.

“Toni Morrison was a national treasure, as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page,” Obama tweeted. “Her writing was a beautiful, meaningful challenge to our conscience and our moral imagination. What a gift to breathe the same air as her, if only for a while.”

Her friends and family also gave statements on Twitter.

“I’m heartbroken, as are so many, at the passing of my beloved teacher, mentor, & friend, Toni Morrison,” her friend, Dwight McBride wrote.” She changed my life! I am also grateful for the legacy & the lessons she left us. If we are students and stewards of her words, they may yet help to save our beloved community.”