Harper Lee, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of To Kill a Mockingbird, has died. The famously reclusive author had been living in an assisted living facility after suffering a stroke in 2007 that forced her to move home from New York, where she had lived for decades.
Lee’s physical and mental condition became news last year with the release of a “Mockingbird” sequel, Go Set a Watchman. Her friends and supporters took sides over whether she truly wanted the newly discovered manuscript to be published.
The book nonetheless became a national bestseller, reflecting the enduring popularity of 1961’s To Kill a Mockingbird, a semi-autobiographical tale of a crusading lawyer in the Jim Crow South that won a Pulitzer Prize, was turned into an Oscar-winning 1962 film and has been taught to generations of schoolchildren.
The film adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird was released in 1962 and starred Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. The film won three Academy Awards and earned a spot in the American Film Institute‘s list of the greatest American movies of all time.
In 2007, President George W. Bush awarded Lee the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the first of several high honors. She received the National Medal of Arts, presented to her by President Barack Obama, in 2010.
Harper Lee was 89.