Oprah Winfrey, who has often described Angelou as one of her biggest heroes, remembered her close friend and mentor as a "rainbow in my clouds."
"I've been blessed to have Maya Angelou as my mentor, mother/sister, and friend since my twenties," Winfrey said in a statement. "She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life. The world knows her as a poet but at the heart of her, she was a teacher. 'When you learn, teach. When you get, give,' is one of my best lessons from her."
"What stands out to me most about Maya Angelou is not what she has done or written or spoken, it's how she lived her life. She moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence and a fierce grace. I loved her and I know she loved me. I will profoundly miss her. She will always be the rainbow in my clouds," Winfrey said.
Winfrey, who first met Angelou in the 1970s, once called her "one of the greatest influences of my entire life."
"She is like a mother to me, a sister to me, a friend to me," Winfrey said in a 2011 video explanation of her relationship with her childhood hero.