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Washington: Nobel Prize-winning US author Toni Morrison has died "following a short illness", her family members said. She was 88.

Morrison, the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, died on Monday night.

The author of 11 novels, she won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993, having published her first novel, "The Bluest Eye", in 1970, the BBC reported.

Morrison "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality".

Her book "Beloved" told the story of a female African-American slave and was made into a film starring Oprah Winfrey in 1998.

Morrison, who died on Monday night, once said: "We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives."

"The consummate writer who treasured the written word, whether her own, her students or others, she read voraciously and was most at home when writing," the Morrison family statement read.

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