Lee won the Pulitzer for fiction in 1961 for To Kill a Mockingbird and was much in the headlines last year when a previously unknown manuscript was discovered and published in the summer as Go Set a Watchman.
In a statement released Friday morning, Michael Morrison, president and publisher of HarperCollins U.S. General Books Group and Canada, publisher of Mockingbird and Watchman, said, “The world knows Harper Lee was a brilliant writer but what many don’t know is that she was an extraordinary woman of great joyfulness, humility and kindness. She lived her life the way she wanted to—in private—surrounded by books and the people who loved her. I will always cherish the time I spent with her.”
Lee's agent, Andrew Nurnberg, also released a statement. "Knowing Nelle these past few years has been not just an utter delight but an extraordinary privilege. When I saw her just six weeks ago, she was full of life, her mind and mischievous wit as sharp as ever. She was quoting Thomas More and setting me straight on Tudor history. We have lost a great writer, a great friend and a beacon of integrity."
Among the many accolades she earned in her life, Lee was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007. To Kill a Mockingbird has sold 40 million copies worldwide, and the publication of Go Set a Watchman was the publishing event of 2015. The book was the bestselling book of the year, selling nearly 1.6 million copies in print.
This story has been updated since its publication.