Toni Morrison Tributes Pour in From Barack Obama, Chance the Rapper and More: ‘National Treasure’

“What a gift to breathe the same air as her, if only for a while,” former President Barack Obama says of Nobel Prize-winning author

Last Updated: August 6, 2019 @ 9:28 AM

Stars from the worlds of politics, entertainment and literature paid tribute to Toni Morrison after news broke that the Nobel Prize-winning author of “Song of Solomon” and “Beloved” died on Monday at the age of 88.

“Toni Morrison was a national treasure, as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page,” Barack Obama said on Tuesday. “Her writing was a beautiful, meaningful challenge to our conscience and our moral imagination. What a gift to breathe the same air as her, if only for a while.”

“Aw man Toni Morrison taught me the word Rememory. RIP to a incredibly powerful and impactful woman,” Chance the Rapper said in a tweet.

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, director of the new documentary, “Toni Morrison: The Pieces that I Am,” shared his memories of the author in a statement to TheWrap. “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,” he added.

Celeste Ng, author of the best-selling novel “Little Fires Everywhere,” which has been adapted by Hulu as a limited series, wrote: “So deeply saddened. Thank you for everything, Ms. Morrison.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said: “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.”

Morrison’s publisher Knopf confirmed that the Pulitzer Prize winner died.

“It is with profound sadness we share that, following a short illness, our adored mother and grandmother, Toni Morrison, passed away peacefully last night surrounded by family and friends,” the Morrison family said in a statement. “The consummate writer who treasured the written word, whether her own, her students or others, she read voraciously and was most at home when writing.”

New York Magazine and HuffPo contributor Yashar Ali posted a series of tributes to Morrison, including some of her most famous quotes on racism and a photo her becoming the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

See these and other tributes below: