Barack Obama, Beyonce, others react to Toni Morrison's death

FILE - In this April 5, 1994 file photo, Toni Morrison as she holds an orchid at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. The Nobel Prize-winning author has died. Publisher Alfred A. Knopf says Morrison died Monday, Aug. 5, 2019 at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. She was 88. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

NEW YORK — Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, who transformed modern literature, has died.

Highlights of reaction to her death:

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

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"The passing of Toni Morrison is a mandate to all others in the field to fulfill the high calling that her work and her life demonstrated. Her words, her wisdom, her undying love and commitment to her people are forever engraved in the pages of history, but her artistic, remarkable literary voice will be deeply missed." — Rep. John Lewis, in a statement.

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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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"Toni Morrison was a towering intellect, a brilliant scribe of our nation's complex stories, a heartbreaking journalist of our deepest desires, and a groundbreaking author who destroyed precepts, walls and those who dared underestimate her capacity. Rest well and in peace." — former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, via Twitter.

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"She was the best of us: our strength, our hope, and most importantly, our history. I grieve her passing though I know she will never, ever be gone." — Walter Mosley, via Facebook.

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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." — U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, via Twitter.

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"My heart hurts. Her greatness was absolute. Her words changed worlds. Her work always belonged to the immortal, and her name will never be forgotten." — author Elizabeth Gilbert, via Facebook.

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"'We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.' Holding all those touched by Toni Morrison in my heart today." — U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, via Twitter.

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"Genius has moved on. She made me understand "writer" was a fine profession. I grew up wanting to be only her. Dinner with her was a night I will never forget. Rest, Queen." — Shonda Rhimes, 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." — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, via Twitter.

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"RIP Toni Morrison. This is a devastating loss to the world of words, to our understanding of power and it's reach, to the cultivation of empathy, to rich, nuanced, elegant storytelling. Her work was a gift to every one who had the pleasure of reading her." — Roxane Gay, via Twitter.

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"Aw man Toni Morrison taught me the word Rememory. RIP to a incredibly powerful and impactful woman." — Chance the Rapper, via Twitter.

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"Oh, no. So deeply saddened. Thank you for everything, Ms. Morrison." — Celeste Ng, via Twitter.

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"Toni Morrison was the first African-American woman to win a Nobel Prize. May she rest in power. #RememberHerName" — Billie Jean King, via Twitter.

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"Her words were like mirrors to our collective souls. Like pillows to cushion the blows. Like mothers to wrap us in love. Like friends to hold our hands and see us through the darkness. #RipToniMorrison (heart) you. May we lift her up in the light of goodness and hold her there." — Gabrielle Union, via Twitter.

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