Iconic actress Cicely Tyson has died at the age of 88, according to reports.
In addition to her loved ones and legion of fans, several U.S. lawmakers weighed in with their condolences and thoughts about the impact she had on the nation’s culture.
“A legacy of cinematic art”
The Associated Press shared a statement from Tyson’s family on Thursday, though it did not include specifics about the cause of her death.
“With heavy heart, the family of Miss Cicely Tyson announces her peaceful transition this afternoon,” her manager, Larry Thompson, wrote. “At this time, please allow the family their privacy.”
Some prominent members of Congress offered public tributes to the legendary actress on Twitter.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) described Tyson as “one of the most profound, talented [and] celebrated actors in the industry,” calling her “a serious actor, beautiful [and] spiritual woman who had unlocked the key to longevity in the way she lived her life,” according to The Hill.
A similar social media message came from Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), who tweeted: “Thank you for leaving a legacy of cinematic art behind, for using your gifts to tell Black stories & to convey our full humanity. And thank you for doing it all with style, flair [and] grace inimitable.”
“I wait for roles”
More than two decades ago, Tyson said in an interview with the Entertainment News Service that she is picky about the acting jobs she accepts in Hollywood.
“I wait for roles — first, to be written for a woman, then, to be written for a Black woman,” she said at the time.
Fittingly, her decades-long career in both movies and television will be remembered for her portrayal of Black female characters of all types. Some of her more well-known performances include The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, How to Get Away With Murder, The Help, and Sounder.
In addition to a range of accolades — three Emmy Awards, a Tony Award, a Peabody Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, four Black Reel Awards, and an honorary Academy Award — she has received for her work, Tyson was presented with the Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Achievement Award and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
Her death came just a few days after her memoir, Just As I Am, was published. During an interview with The New York Times just weeks before her death, Tyson opened up about her thoughts on mortality, saying that she is “not scared of death” but is “grateful for every day that God gives” her.