Obama, Beyonce, others react to Morrison's death

AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File

Toni Morrison holds an orchid at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York on April 5, 1994.

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

Highlights of reaction to her death:

• • •

"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.

• • •

"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!"

• • •

"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."

• • •

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

• • •

"'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.

• • •

"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.

• • •

"'You wanna fly, you got to give up the sh--that weighs you down.' Toni Morrison. I cannot imagine growing up in a world without her words. I pray you rest In Peace and in Power. We will celebrate you with endless gratitude and love. Always." -- Kerry Washington, via Twitter.

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"Toni Morrison will be remembered as one of the greatest thinkers and storytellers in our history. She gave us all so much, and her work continues to give throughout time. Thank you, Toni Morrison." -- U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, via Twitter.

• • •

"I just assumed Ms. Morrison would live forever. And in so many ways in so many hearts and minds and spirits, she will." -- filmmaker Barry Jenkins, 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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