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01/20/99 Black feminist Bell Hooks during interview for her new book. Said the feminist writer who a

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Author, scholar, and noted feminist bell hooks became a towering figure in her decades-long career, penning dozens of books that inspired a generation of great thinkers in her wake. The prolific public intellectual has died, with reactions surfacing online reflecting on her lasting legacy.

Born Gloria Jean Watkins on September 25, 1952, in Hopkinsville, Ky., hooks was raised in a working-class family and expressed that her pursuit of matters of the mind was essentially an act of revolution against the racism and segregation she initially faced as a child. Graduating from Stanford University in 1973 with a BA in English, hooks went on to obtain an M.A. MA in English from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1976. In 1983, hooks completed her doctorate in literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Among hooks’ notable writings, her 1981 book Ain’t I a Woman? was initially penned when she was an undergraduate student in 1971, and her 1984 book Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center positioned her as a feminist icon to many. She went on to write books addressing love, race, politics, masculinity, poetry, and more. The name bell hooks was taken from her grandmother and it was styled as such because she wanted her work to be recognized over her name.

According to a press release from one of her family members, hooks had been battling an illness and was surrounded by family and friends and a tweet from hooks’ niece goes on to share a statement from the family.

“The family of @bellhooks is sad to announce the passing of our sister, aunt, great aunt and great great aunt. The author, professor, critic and feminist made her transition early this am from her home, surrounded by family and friends,” read the first string of tweets.

On Twitter, countless tributes have been made in honor of bell hooks and we’ve gathered a handful for viewing below. hooks was 69.

Photo: Getty