After a storied career on stage and in film spanning more than 70 years, and a well-lived life, actress Cicely Tyson passed away on Thursday (Jan. 28) at the age of 96.
According to the AP, the news of her death was shared by her manager, Larry Thompson, who confirmed that her family said she passed this afternoon. He didn’t share any details about a cause of death, instead asking for some privacy.
“With heavy heart, the family of Miss Cicely Tyson announces her peaceful transition this afternoon,” a statement from Thompson obtained by the AP read. “At this time, please allow the family their privacy.”
Tyson was most recently doing interviews to promote her memoir, Just As I Am, which was just released on Jan. 26. In a recent interview with Bustle, she explained why she waited so long to share her life story at 96 years young.
“People wanted to know all about my personal life, and I said, ‘That has nothing to do with my acting,'” she said. “My personal life allows me to bring some kind of contribution to my career life. You have to have something feeding you. If you do not allow yourself to be fed by life, then you have nothing to give an audience. The characters that you read about come from a human life.”
Tyson, who became something of a fashion star and hair inspiration in the last years of her life, was best known for her work in films like Sounder, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award, as well as The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, which garnered her two Emmy awards. In recent years, she had a resurgence in popularity, appearing in films like The Help and A Fall From Grace, as well shows like How to Get Away With Murder. In her return to the Great White Way, she won a Tony for her work in 2013 in the Broadway play The Trip to Bountiful. Always a mysterious figure, Tyson was a Kennedy Center honoree in 2015, and when that celebration came about, she decided to open up about her age.
“For decades up to then, folks had been trying, and largely failing, to guess how old I was,” she stated in Just As I Am.
“The truth is, I’ve always been quietly proud of my real age,” she added. “But when the Kennedy Center honor came around, I felt it was important to at last set the record straight.”
Tyson was previously married to Kenneth Franklin from 1942 to 1956 and wed jazz legend Miles Davis from 1981 to 1988. She has no children from those relationships, but she certainly has a lasting legacy overall. After her Broadway run with A Trip to Bountiful, Tyson expressed her thankfulness for the career she’s had.
“This last year has been absolutely phenomenal,” she said in 2014 to Emmys.com. “I know, and I let Him or Her know, how blessed I have been throughout my whole career. And I never fail to give thanks.”
Check out a gallery of images from Tyson’s legendary life over at our brother site, NewsOne.com.