'She Changed the World': Fans React to Harper Lee's Death | NBC Chicago

'She Changed the World': Fans React to Harper Lee's Death

Author Had a Broad Fan Base



    Harper Lee, the elusive novelist whose child's-eye view of racial injustice in a small Southern town, "To Kill a Mockingbird," became standard reading for millions of young people, has died. She was 89. (Published Friday, Feb. 19, 2016)

    The many celebrity fans of Harper Lee took to Twitter in force this morning after hearing that the 89-year-old author had died.

    Lee, who rose to fame with 1961's "To Kill a Mockingbird" and re-emerged last year with the publication of "Go Set a Watchman," died peacefully in her home in Monroeville, Alabama, according to the mayoral office and Lee's publisher. 

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    Those who held Lee in high regard span the spectrum from politicians to actors, authors and business leaders.

    Among her admirers was former President George W. Bush, who said:

    "Harper Lee was ahead of her time, and her masterpiece 'To Kill A Mockingbird' prodded America (to) catch up with her. Even decades after its publication, her hero Atticus Finch inspires every reader. As I said when I honored Harper Lee with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007, 'One reason 'To Kill A Mockingbird' succeeded is the wise and kind heart of the author, which comes through on every page.'"

    Lee's alma mater, Huntington College, said in a statement, "Her novels call us to consider the reality of evil and the important choices we make in life, presenting examples of goodness and courage that stand firm in the face of that reality."

    The literary community also weighed in. Author Margaret Stohl said via Twitter, "Harper Lee was my David Bowie and I feel her loss in my bones." Young adult genre author Lauren Oliver — known for "Before I Fall" and "Panic" — tweeted, "With one novel, Harper Lee created some of the most indelible characters and storytelling the world has ever seen. She will be remembered."

    Author John Green, who penned "Looking for Alaska," shared a personal story via Twitter. "When my son Henry was born, Ms. Lee signed a copy of Looking for Alaska for him with the inscription, 'Welcome to the world Henry Atticus.' That book is my most prized possession. Ms. Lee lived a private life, but she was quietly and extraordinarily generous."

    See some of the Twitter reactions below: