Author and playwright Ntozake Shange died in her sleep in an assisted living facility in Maryland on Saturday. She was 70.

Shange suffered from multiple strokes in recent years, according to published reports. But her health had improved prior to her death.

Shange was born Paulette L. Williams in Trenton, New Jersey in 1948. Thanks to her family’s volunteering in the arts she was surrounded by celebrities, including Miles Davis, Chuck Berry, and W.E.B. Du Bois.

Shange began to write poetry and plays while in college and she was best known for her play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow is Enuf.

The play made its Broadway debut at the Booth Theater in 1976. It has since been adapted into a book and a 2010 Tyler Perry movie.

Shange also wrote the plays Spell No. 7, Lavender Lizards and Lilac Landmines: Layla's Dream, and others.

Shange is pictured above with Janet Jackson at the premiere of 'For Colored Girls’ at the Ziegfeld Theatre on October 25, 2010 in New York City.

Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

  • Zeta Phi Beta 1920

    I loved the play & the movie.
    RIH, Queen.

  • Judi Jupiter

    RIP.. I remember reading for colored girls as a teenager.

  • Alextra Ballard

    R.I.P. Ms. Shange

  • Ms.Devereaux

    Me too!! I acted out a part of it to in class .

  • Ms.Devereaux

    Dam auntie you just gave me the sads with this post ?

  • Fire & Ice

    If you were in drama back in the day, this book was on the list! RIP ?

  • Nancy Drew-Natural & Luv’n It!
  • Karen Brady

    Wow. I believe I will favor her later on in life. She looks just like my mama and me.
    RIP Queen Shange and thank you for all your contributions.

  • Karen Brady

    Nice!! I saw it on stage in the late eighties. Excellent.

  • Zeta Phi Beta 1920
  • KcoolMuziq
  • Renee26

    RIP Queen

  • Anji

    "...and cornbread and bbq float out the backdoor on a breeze..." Thank you Sis, you understood Watts wasn't nothin but the South. RIP

  • ClaireHuxtable

    Rest in Peace. Your work changed lives for the better.

  • Alicia.Ashe

    Another great one gone??

  • Li-Wright

    Wow, another legend. She was in assisted living for strokes? ?? I had a cousin who lived for YEARS in Assisted living who suffered a stroke bec. of HBP and Diabetes. That is so scarey. I also had an aunt who died in assisted living after suffering a massive stroke. SOOOO scary. I'm her age, this is scaring the heck out of me.
    Keep those numbers low people!

  • Malcom Flex

    Rest in peace, sister.

  • Rhyme and Reason

    RIP, what an interesting background! She left too soon, and life had its challenges, but this woman lived her 100, and her work lives on!

  • the guest

    Queen Ntozake, RIP.

    Started a book group in her honor today.

  • Phillybruh

    That's a movie you can only watch once along with 12 years...RIP Ntozake.

  • Yoni7

    Almighty bless.

  • cristalle1

    Rest in peace. The book is a profound piece of literature that rings true even today.

  • Guest

    RIP. I agree, but I refuse to watch 12 years a slave.

  • ZRoJoTheLezBeyond

    R.I.H. Ms. Shange