Her death was confirmed by her life-long friend and literary agent Helen Brann, and although no cause of death has been confirmed, Maya was in ill health for some years.
In her last tweet, sent on May 23, Maya tweeted her usual words of wisdom, sharing with her 390,000 followers: "Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God."
Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.— Maya Angelou (@DrMayaAngelou) May 23, 2014
Her work of poetry, Just Give Me A Cool Drink Of Water 'Fore I Diie was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1971, and in 1993 Maya recited her poetry at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton.
After the news of her death broke, celebrities and politicians from around the world tweeted their sorrow and respects for the 86-year-old.
Thank you, Maya, for your power, your politics, your poetry. We need you more than ever. Rest in peace.— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) May 28, 2014
It’s the fire in my eyes/And the flash of my teeth/The swing in my waist/And the joy in my feet/I’m a woman/Phenomenally...— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) May 28, 2014
RIP Maya Angelou http://t.co/J3cQOyNPwk— Khloé (@khloekardashian) May 28, 2014
Lena Dunham was quick to post online, quoting one of Maya's poems from the book Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women.
Other famous faces to add their quotes and memories of Maya included Harry Potter author J.K Rowling and Kelly Rowland.
"If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be." Maya Angelou - who was utterly amazing.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 28, 2014
"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - RIP Maya Angelou— KELENDRIA ROWLAND (@KELLYROWLAND) May 28, 2014
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." - Maya Angelou.— Mary J. Blige (@maryjblige) May 28, 2014
She continued: "Sometimes I'll get a thousand pieces of mail a week from young women who think I'm wise. So they use me as a mother and I think of them as my daughters. So I thought it was time to say, 'Listen, kids, I have been here and done this. I got into this scrape and got out of it. I paid for it. I want you to know that if you take this road in the dark, to the left there's a big hole and if you're not careful you'll step in it and break your foot'."
Michelle and I join millions in remembering Maya Angelou, a storyteller whose voice convinced us we all have something to offer. -bo— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 28, 2014
With Maya Angelou's passing, America has lost a national treasure; and Hillary and I, a beloved friend. http://t.co/ZQnoHwulNb— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) May 28, 2014
"Just like hopes springing high, Still I'll rise."—Maya Angelou, a truly phenomenal woman whose words will serve to lift our souls forever.— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) May 28, 2014
RIP Maya Angelou. A great woman.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) May 28, 2014
#RIP Maya Angelou, who reminded us "Nothing can dim the light which shines from within"— Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) May 28, 2014