Author of To Kill a Mockingbird dies
Harper Lee, who wrote one of America’s most enduring literary classics, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, and surprised readers 55 years later with the publication of a second book about the same characters, died at the age of 89 on Friday.
A statement from Tonja Carter, Lee’s attorney in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, said Lee had “passed away early this morning in her sleep” and that the death was unexpected.
For decades it had appeared that Lee’s sole literary output would be ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and the July 2015 publication of ‘Go Set a Watchman’ was a surprising and somewhat controversial literary event.
For many years, Lee, a shy woman with an engaging Southern drawl who never married, lived quietly and privately, always turning down interview requests. She alternated between living in a New York apartment and Monroeville, where she shared a home with her older sister, lawyer Alice Lee.
After suffering a stroke and enduring failing vision and hearing, she spent her final years in an assisted living residence in Monroeville. “When I saw her just six weeks ago, she was full of life, her mind and mischievous wit as sharp as ever,” her agent, Andrew Nurnberg, said in a statement. “She was quoting Thomas More and setting me straight on Tudor history.”
She was born as Nelle Harper Lee on April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, the youngest of four children of AC and Frances Finch Lee.