WINSTON-SALEM, N.C- U.S. author and poet Maya Angelou passed away at the age of 86 in North Carolina , local media reported today, citing her agent and a local official.

Angelou provided eloquent commentary on race, gender and living life to its fullest in poems and memoirs such as "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," which brought her wide acclaim after its 1970 publication.