The story chronicled a tale of justice and race in a small Southern town during the Great Depression, in the 1930s.
City Hall, in Monroeville, Alabama, the town in which Lee lived, confirmed her death on Feb. 19.
“The family of Nelle Harper Lee, of Monroeville, Alabama, announced today, with great sadness, that Ms. Lee passed away in her sleep early this morning,” the author’s family said in a statement. “Her passing was unexpected. She remained in good basic health until her passing. The family is in mourning, and there will be a private funeral service in the upcoming days, as she had requested.”
“This is a sad day for our family,” Lee’s nephew, Hank Conner, stated. “America, and the world, knew Harper Lee as one of the last century’s most beloved authors. We knew her as Nelle Harper Lee, a loving member of our family, a devoted friend to the many good people who touched her life, and a generous soul in our community, and our state. We will miss her dearly.”
Lee’s publisher, HarperCollins, also released the following statement, regarding her passing:
“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,” Michael Morrison, the company’s president and publisher, stated. “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.”
“Mockingbird,” published in 1960, had been a narrative drawn from elements of Lee’s childhood in Monroeville. The book detailed how three children, and their father, Atticus, became involved in the case of Tom Robninson, a black man accused of rape in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama.
“Mockingbird” won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961, and Gregory Peck, who played Atticus in the acclaimed 1962 movie, earned an Oscar for best actor. Lee’s latest book, “Go Set a Watchman,” was also published in 2015, and had become a top-seller.