Oprah Winfrey is one of millions mourning the loss of prolific author and poet, Maya Angelou.
When news outlets began reporting Angelou's death on Wednesday, May 28, many celebrities, public figures, dignitaries and fans took to social media with dedicatory posts about the I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings author.
The 60-year-old media proprietor also opted to share her thoughts. Winfrey released a heartfelt statement via Instagram about the woman she has often referred to as her hero. Now, she says Angelou is her "rainbow in my clouds."
"I've been blessed to have Maya Angelou as my mentor, mother/sister, and friend since my twenties," Winfrey said. "She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life. The world knows her as a poet but at the heart of her, she was a teacher. 'When you learn, teach. When you get, give,' is one of my best lessons from her."
"What stands out to me most about Maya Angelou is not what she has done or written or spoken, it's how she lived her life. She moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence and a fierce grace. I loved her and I know she loved me. I will profoundly miss her. She will always be the rainbow in my clouds," Winfrey said.
Winfrey and Angelou met for the first time more than 30 years ago back in the early 1970s. Over the years, the two have forged a remarkable friendship. On several occasions Winfrey, who has admired Angelou since she was a child, praised her as "one of the greatest influences of my entire life."
Back in 2011, Winfrey shared one of the most powerful lessons she'd ever learned with the world. She credited Angelou as the teacher. "She is like a mother to me, a sister to me, a friend to me," Winfrey said of her childhood hero.
Image via Oprah Winfrey, Facebook