“To Kill A Mockingbird” author Nelle Harper Lee has died, AL.com reported Friday. She was 89. Other details were unclear shortly before 11 a.m. EST.
Ernest Williams of Johnson’s Funeral Home in Monroeville confirmed Lee’s death to International Business Times though he noted the funeral home was not handling services. A call to the Monroeville County Coroner and Medical Examiner’s Office was not immediately returned.
Lee’s publisher, HarperCollins, confirmed her passing to the New York Times and CNN.
The Raycom News Network reported Spencer Madrie, the owner of Monroeville’s Ol’ Curiosities & Book Shoppe, posted a message online memorializing Lee. “We will remember Harper Lee for her candor, her talent and the truths she gave the world, perhaps before the world was ready,” he said.
Lee rose to prominence after the 1960 publication of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” a novel about race relations that went on to win the Pulitzer Prize, but kept famously private for most of her life. She released a second book, “Go Set A Watchman,” last July. It received mixed reviews but sold more than 1.1 million copies in its first week on the shelves.
Lee’s health became the topic of heavy speculation last year when the follow-up book was first announced. Experts speculated she couldn’t endorse its publication due to her deteriorating condition. The New York Times reported Lee had developed hearing and sight issues. She also had a stroke in 2007.
Today we lost a beautiful writer. RIP Harper Lee. pic.twitter.com/aA0SgyV0j1
— Random House (@randomhouse) February 19, 2016
Condolences began to pour in Friday as news of Lee’s death was shared rapidly online. The Alabama Department of Education posted a statement on Facebook thanking the author for inspiring “the love of reading, compassion and critical thinking in so many students.” Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange called Lee “one of the greats of our time” on Twitter.
Lee was not married and had no children, the Huffington Post reported.