How did Maya Angelou die? Her health problems detailed

Maya Angelou

In Maya Angelou’s sixth autobiography, she recalled the conversation that inspired her to write her first and most famous memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Angelou wrote that Robert Loomis, her longtime editor, told her it was ‘nearly impossible to write autobiography as literature’. “I’ll start tomorrow,” Angelou replied. 

Angelou delivered such a vivid description of growing up as a black, parentless child in the Jim Crow south that some authorities banned her first memoir. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings became a symbol of the Black struggle due to its fearless portrayal of racism. 

Angelou likely died of natural causes after battling heart issues for many years

Maya Angelou died on 28th May 2014. She passed away following several years of failing health. Helen Brann, Angelou’s agent, told ABC News:

“She’d been very frail and had heart problems, but she was going strong, finishing a new book. I spoke to her yesterday. She was fine, as she always was. Her spirit was indomitable.”

Angelou’s health problems had forced her to cancel appearances at several events, including the 2014 MLB Awards Luncheon. Angelou’s health deteriorated with age, but her mind remained sharp. 

At the time of her death, she was reportedly working on a memoir about her experiences with national and world leaders. Angelou memorialized her life up to age 40, less than half of her life. 

According to her son, Guy Johnson, Angelou wrote four books in the last decade of her life, despite suffering from constant pain. Johnson said in a statement:

“Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belabored by a loss of acuity or comprehension. She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace.” 

“The family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.”