Essayist, critic and novelist Albert Murray passed away Sunday at 97 years old. The nonfiction writer died peacefully at his home in New York City.
The Washington Post reports that the cause of death is unknown.
Murray proved to be a huge influence in African American culture, often incorporating the colorful metaphor of blues and jazz music.
Murray wrote during the civil rights movement about black integration, joining names like James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Romare Bearden and Ralph Ellison. These authors spurred the national debate on race and challenged black separatism. According to The Hollywood Gossip, Murray wrote about integration being the only hope for the country’s success.
Although he continued writing through the 21st century, ever since his spinal surgery in 1998, Murray had suffered through pain, reports The New York Times. “I’m in constant pain. At home I use a four-pronged aluminum stick to get around. I need a stroller when I’m on the street. At receptions and in airports I need a wheelchair to get down the long aisles.”
One of his hardships was dealing with the loss of his old friends and fellow writers, including Duke Ellington, Romare Bearden, Ralph Ellison, Alfred Kazin and more. Murray now joins his friends as his legacy lives on.