Today my office manager walked in my office and asked me, "Are you covering Maya Angelou?" I was in disbelief. Hearing of her illness last week concerned me, but I figured since she recently posted a message on Twitter that she would be OK. Going through my morning routine, I completely missed this, and I am in complete disbelief.

I remember reading I Know Why The Cage Bird Sings and Phenomenal Woman, two of my favorite readings by her, when I was in junior high. She was a true role model for all girls and women. At age 14, she studied dance and drama in San Francisco but dropped out and became the first black female cable car conductor.

Later she returned to high school and was able to graduate by the time she was 17. Shortly after that she gave birth to her son and as a single mom, continued to chase her dreams. She toured Europe in the 1950s in the opera production Porgy and Bess. In 1957 she went into the recording studio and produced Miss Calypso.

Dr. Maya Angelou never attended college, but was so highly respected education community that she attained 30 honorary degrees and also was a professor teaching American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

This phenomenal woman spoke six different languages and worked as a newspaper editor in Egypt and Ghana. While in Africa, she wrote the autobiographical book I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings in 1969.

Today, her literary agent announced that Dr. Maya Angelou had passed away in her home at the age of 86. This legendary author, poet, actress and activist leaves a voice that will never be silent.