She was so many things to so many people. I believe she was probably best known as author of the best-seller, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, published in 1969. This first novel put her into the recordbooks as the first Aftrican-American woman to produce a best-selling novel.
She will be missed. For more information, her biography can be found here: http://www.biography.com/#!/people/maya-angelou-9185388
It is worth looking at as she provided a wonderfully positive example for so many.