Harper Lee – the author best known for the iconic 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird – has passed away at the age of 89.
A county coroner confirmed today that Lee passed away at an assisted living facility in Monroeville – the small Alabama town that she called home throughout most of her life.
In addition to winning the Pulitzer Prize and serving as the basis of a classic film, To Kill a Mockingbird has become a perennial favorite in both classrooms and bookstores.
Astonishingly, 56 years after its publication, the book still sells over one million copies every year.
The book’s themes of racial injustice and the importance of aiding the oppressed have helped it remain continuously relevant – and widely beloved – throughout several generations.
Lee was a lifelong friend of author Truman Capote (the character of Dill in Mockingbird is based on a young Capote) and she assisted him in researching his famous “non-fiction novel” In Cold Blood.
Despite spending much of her life avoiding the spotlight, Lee made headlines last year with the news that a sequel to Mockingbird entitled Go Set a Watchman would be released several decades after it was penned.
The controversial novel became an instant bestseller.
Lee never married or had children, but she was fiercely beloved by the people of Monroeville – the tiny town that helped inspire one of the great literary works of the 20th Century.