Harper Lee, Author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ Dies at 89

To Kill a Mockingbird author HARPER LEE has passed away. Her age was 89. The death of Lee, who lived in Monroeville, Alabama, was confirmed by multiple sources, according to AL.com. No details about the nature of her passing were provided. Lee “died peacefully,” according to her publisher, who provided no further details. The New York Times reported that Lee was ailing during the controversy surrounding her novel Go Set a Watchman, published in 2015. Lee suffered a stroke in 2007.

Harper Lee Cause of Death

Michael Morrison, president and publisher of HarperCollins in the United States, said, “The world knows Harper Lee was a brilliant writer, but what many don’t know is that she was an extraordinary woman of great joy, humility, and kindness.” 

 “She lived her life the way she wanted — in private — surrounded by books and the people who loved her.”

“Knowing Nelle these past few years has been not just an utter delight but an extraordinary privilege,” Lee’s agent Andrew Nurnberg said in a statement. “When I saw her just six weeks ago, she was full of life, her mind and mischievous wit as sharp as ever. She was quoting Thomas More and setting me straight on Tudor history. We have lost a great writer, a great friend, and a beacon of integrity.”

“The passing of Harper Lee is a loss for all of us,” Tom DeLonge, formerly of Blink-182, said. Atticus, the popular streetwear company he cofounded in 2001, was named after the iconic character in Mockingbird. “Her work challenged us to think about equality, tolerance, and human kindness. May she rest in peace.”

harper lee cause of death
harper lee cause of death

Lee, who was born in Monroeville in 1926, moved to New York City in the late 1940s to work as an airline reservation agent and write fiction on the side. Lee found an agent and sold the manuscript for her first novel, Go Set a Watchman, in 1956; the book wasn’t published at the time, but Lee returned to the novel’s protagonists, Atticus Finch, Scout, and Boo Radley, in her 1960 debut, To Kill a Mockingbird.

As a result of the novel’s success, Lee was awarded the 1961 Pulitzer Prize. Lee went to Kansas with her childhood friend Truman Capote, who was researching the true crime story that would become In Cold Blood, after the novel’s success. The 1962 film adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird, starring Gregory Peck, was also a critical and commercial success.

Lee withdrew from public life after the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, choosing instead to move back to Monroeville to be closer to her older sister, Alice, who had served as her advisor and had died in November 2014. Lee’s Go Set a Watchman manuscript was announced to be published by HarperCollins shortly after Alice’s passing. Even though Lee said she would never write another book, she did so anyway because of the uproar it caused about her sanity.

Lee received the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom for the lasting impact of her novel To Kill a Mockingbird, even though she only published two novels during her lifetime.

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