Harper Lee, the enigmatic Southern writer who ignited the literary world with 1960's To Kill a Mockingbird, died Feb. 19. Lee's death was confirmed by the mayor of Monroeville, Ala., where she was born in 1926. She was 89.
A notoriously private individual, Lee refused nearly all requests for interviews or publicity after her novel won the Pulitzer Prize and became a 1962 Oscar-winning film, starring Gregory Peck as the novel's hero, Atticus Finch. In 1966, Lee assisted her childhood friend, Truman Capote, in research for what would become his 1966 bestseller In Cold Blood.
In 2014, Lee's attorney surprised the literary world when she announced the discovery of a manuscript for Go Set a Watchman, a provocative sequel of To Kill a Mockingbird. The book hit stores in July 2015 and became another runaway bestseller, but attracted much controversy because Lee had insisted for decades that she would never publish another book.
The state of Alabama launched an investigation to determine if Lee was competent to consent to the publication of Go Set a Watchman, and found claims that she was coerced were unfounded.
In 1999, the Library Journal named To Kill a Mockingbird the greatest novel of the 20th century.