Tributes to author Toni Morrison

President Barack Obama with author Toni Morrison in 2012.
President Barack Obama with author Toni Morrison in 2012.

Highlights of reactions to the death of Nobel laureate Toni Morrison:

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"Toni Morrison was a national treasure. Her writing was not just beautiful but meaningful - a challenge to our conscience and a call to greater empathy. She was as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page. And so even as Michelle and I mourn her loss and send our warmest sympathies to her family and friends, we know that her stories - that our stories - will always be with us, and with those who come after, and on and on, for all time." - former President Barack Obama, via Twitter.

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"In the beginning was the Word. Toni Morrison took the word and turned it into a Song.of Solomon, of Sula, Beloved, Mercy, Paradise Love, and more. She was our conscience. Our seer. Our truth-teller. She was a magician with language, who understood the Power of words. She used them to roil us, to wake us, to educate us and help us grapple with our deepest wounds and try to comprehend them. It is exhilarating and life-enhancing every time I read and share her work." - Oprah Winfrey, concluding on Instagram with: "She was Empress-Supreme among writers. Long may her WORDS reign!"

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"I've been privileged to know Toni Morrison for nearly 40 years. During that time, she won many awards and accolades - the Nobel, a Pulitzer, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.But for me, Toni has been a treasured collaborator, a monumental inspiration and, most importantly, a cherished friend. We will all miss her, but the gifts she left us - her written works that have transformed so many lives around the world - live on...to educate, empower and nourish us. For this and all she shared with us, I say thank you Toni. My deepest sympathies go out to her family and friends." - Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, director of this year's documentary "Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am."

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"'If you surrender to the air, you can ride it.' Rest in paradise." - Beyonce, on her website.

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"'If there is a book that you want to read but it hasn't been written yet, you must be the one to write it,' Toni Morrison said. We are all so lucky to live in a world where she took her own advice and shared it with others." - Hillary Clinton, via Twitter.

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"Today, the world lost a storyteller of unmatched empathy, elegance and power. Toni Morrison's belief that language is the "measure of our lives" leaves an extraordinary, inspiring inheritance, and her beautiful writing will continue to be a blessing for generations to come." - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, via Twitter.

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"'If you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.' -Toni Morrison. Today we lost an American legend. May she rest in peace." - US Senator Bernie Sanders, via Twitter.

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"I was very saddened to hear of the death of the great American novelist Toni Morrison, a giant of her times and ours. Her novel, Beloved, is a heartbreaking testimony to the ongoing ravages of slavery, and should be read by all. That her strong voice will now be missing in this age of the renewed targeting of minorities in the United States and elsewhere is a tragedy for the rest of us." - Margaret Atwood, in a statement.

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"In the passing of Toni Morrison, we lost one of our greatest voices & storytellers. Holding close those touched by her being & her gift. Her work gave us power, hope & freedom. While our world shines a little less bright today, we know "something that is loved is never lost." - US Senator Kamala Harris, via Twitter.

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"Toni Morrison has died. Just when we most need to hear her voice, she is gone. Thank you for the insights, the stories, and the poetry of your thought that have enriched us all these many years. Lay your burden down." - Bette Midler, via Twitter.

Australian Associated Press