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Roberta Flack Remembers Maya Angelou: ‘We All Have Been Inspired’

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R&B legend Roberta Flack remembers her close friend Maya Angelou, who died today at age 86, as a poet who inspired “generations [to] try harder and get up once more to fight for a better day, a better life and a better future.”

“Thank you for your wisdom, for your unfailing strength, your courage and your honesty which have moved people around this world to a better place,” Flack said in a statement provided to TIME. “We all have been inspired by you to not give up when we otherwise might have.”

The two artists weren’t just friends, they were also collaborators. Though Angelou is mostly known for her poetry, she had a brief music career as a singer-songwriter, releasing an album of calypso music in 1957, well before her writing career took off. For Flack’s 1988 album Oasis, Angelou co-wrote the song “And So It Goes.”

“Thank you Maya, my friend. Your steady heart, humor and humility have been a touchstone for me through our friendship that has spanned so much of my life. I appreciate the roads we have walked together as friends, as artists and as women sharing our hopes, dreams, defeats and sorrows. I will miss you, my friend. Good journey.”

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Write to Nolan Feeney at nolan.feeney@time.com