Harper Lee, the reclusive author of To Kill a Mockingbird, has died at the age of 89.
The news was confirmed by the mayor’s office in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.
The novelist was born Nelle Harper Lee on 28 April 1926.
In 1960, she published To Kill a Mockingbird, which was a huge critical and commercial success and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The sequel Go Set a Watchman, was only published in 2015.
To Kill a Mockingbird sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.
Lee was born 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama. She was the youngest of four children of lawyer Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee.
She was a guardedly private person, respected and protected by residents of her town, rarely giving interviews.
“The world has lost a brilliant mind and a great writer,” said Spencer Madrie, owner of Ol’ Curiosities and Book Shoppe, a small, independent book store in Lee’s hometown that focuses largely on Lee’s works.
“We will remember Harper Lee for her candour, her talent, and the truths she gave the world, perhaps before the world was ready. We are grateful to have had a connection to an author who offered so much.
“There will always be something missing from Monroeville and the world at large in the absence of Harper Lee.”
The author Malorie Blackman posted “Harper Lee R.I.P.” on her Twitter account.
Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted: “Rest in peace, Harper Lee. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
To Kill a Mockingbird – at a glance
In the small fictional town of Maycomb in the depression-ravaged American South, a black man named Tom Robinson is falsely accused of raping a white woman.
A lawyer named Atticus Finch defends Robinson in court. The frenzy stirred up by the case and her father’s quest for justice are seen through the eyes of Finch’s six-year-old daughter Scout.
The book explores issues of race, class and the loss of innocence.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” – Atticus Finch to Scout.
“It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.” – Scout Finch.
The novel is currently being adapted for the stage.
The manuscript for the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set A Watchman was discovered and published in 2016.
Many bookshops remained open all night to cope with demand.