Legendary author, Harper Lee, had died at the age of 89. Her first novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, sold more than 40 million copies, becoming one of the most beloved and most taught works of fiction by an American author.
Hank Conner, Lee’s nephew, said she died in her sleep at the Meadows, an assisted living facility in Monroeville, Alabama.
He said, “This is a sad day for our family. America and the world knew Harper Lee as one of the last century’s most beloved authors. We knew her as Nelle Harper Lee, a loving member of our family, a devoted friend to the many good people who touched her life, and a generous soul in our community and our state. We will miss her dearly.”
A family statement read, “The family of Nelle Harper Lee, of Monroeville, Alabama, announced today, with great sadness, that Ms. Lee passed away in her sleep early this morning. Her passing was unexpected. She remained in good basic health until her passing. The family is in mourning and there will be a private funeral service in the upcoming days, as she had requested.”
Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, was published in 1960, winning the Pulitzer Prize for fiction the next year. The instant success turned her into a literary celebrity, a role she found oppressive and never learned to accept.
“I never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird,” Ms. Lee told a radio interviewer in 1964. “I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers, but, at the same time I sort of hoped someone would like it well enough to give me encouragement.”