American author, feminist and social activist, bell hooks, has died at the age of 69.
According to a statement, hooks was confirmed dead on Wednesday at her home in Kentucky “surrounded by her family and friends”.
Her niece Ebony Motley tweeted:
“The family of @bellhooks is sad to announce the passing of our sister, aunt, great aunt, and great great aunt.”
She also attached a statement, which said;
“the family of Gloria Jean Watkins is deeply saddened at the passing of our beloved sister on December 15, 2021. The family honored her request to transition at home with family and friends by her side.”
hooks was an author, professor, and activist, born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky in 1952, and was the fourth of seven siblings. She published over 30 books in her lifetime, covering topics including race, feminism, capitalism, and intersectionality.
Her real name was Gloria Jean Watkins but she adopted her great-grandmother’s name Bell Blair Hooks for her writing.
She attended segregated schools in Christian County before going on to Stanford University in California. She earned a master’s in English at the University of Wisconsin and a doctorate in literature at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Her first book, Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism, was published in 1981.
However, Hooks deliberately styled her own name with lower case letters as she wanted readers to focus on the substance of books, not who she was.
She was inducted into the Kentucky Writers’ Hall of Fame in 2018.
“I want my work to be about healing,” she said after her induction
“I am a fortunate writer because every day of my life practically I get a letter, a phone call from someone who tells me how my work has transformed their life.”
Following the news of her death, hooks’ friend Linda Strong-Leek said: “She was one of my dearest friends and the world is a lesser place today without her.”