Nobel laureate Toni Morrison no more

Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, a pioneer and reigning giant of modern literature whose imaginative power in "Beloved", "Song of Solomon" and other works transformed American letters by dramatising the pursuit of freedom within the boundaries of race, has died at age 88.

Publisher Alfred A. Knopf announced that Toni died on Monday night at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.

Toni's family issued a statement through Knopf saying she died after a brief illness.

"Toni Morrison passed away peacefully surrounded by family and friends," the family announced.

"She was an extremely devoted mother, grandmother, and aunt who revelled in being with her family and friends. 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."