Cicely Tyson was a petite woman, but to those lucky enough to walk any of the paths she carved in Hollywood, she was the giant on whose shoulders they stood.
Tyson, an actress known for her pioneering career on stage and screen, died Thursday, according to her manager. She was 96 years old.
In light of the news, Tyson’s many collaborators, colleagues and admirers took to social media to pay tribute to the legendary talent.
“I’m devastated. My heart is just broken. I loved you so much!! You were everything to me! You made me feel loved and seen and valued in a world where there is still a cloak of invisibility for us dark chocolate girls. You gave me permission to dream….because it was only in my dreams that I could see the possibilities in myself. I’m not ready for you to be my angel yet. But…I also understand that it’s only when the last person who has a memory of you dies, that you’ll truly be dead. In that case, you will be immortal. Thank you for shifting my life. Thank you for the long talks. Thank you for loving me.” — via Instagram
“#CicelyTyson, you will always be the Life of our Party; celebrating the Beauty of Blackness and the Grace of Greatness. We will forever speak your name.” — via Instagram
“This one hurts, today we honor and celebrate the life of one of the greatest to ever do it. Thank you Cicely Tyson. Rest in great power.” — via Twitter
“This one cuts deep. @IAmCicelyTyson was my first screen Mom.. Elegance, warmth, beauty, wisdom, style and abundant grace. She was as regal as they come. An artist of the highest order, I will love her forever.” — via Twitter
“She was an extraordinary person. And this is an extraordinary loss. She had so much to teach. And I still have so much to learn. I am grateful for every moment. Her power and grace will be with us forever.” — via Instagram
“Cicely Tyson has passed. She led a pioneering career in film, a remarkable feat for an African American woman born 96 years ago. An Emmy and Tony award winning actress, her career on screen and on stage stretched an incredible seven decades. We will miss you dearly, Cicely. RIP.” — via Twitter
“I’m so sad to hear the news that trailblazing artist and cultural icon Cicely Tyson has passed away today. While she may be gone, her work and life will continue to inspire millions for years to come. God Bless.” — via Twitter
Tyler James Williams
“Queen Mother Cicely Tyson, I pray for you as glorious and regal a transition as your presence was here with us. Thank you for all of your contributions to the movement & the culture and for allowing so many of us to stand on your incredibly strong shoulders. Rest In Power.” — via Twitter
Reverend Al Sharpton
“Deeply saddened at the news of the death of Cicely Tyson. She was the ultimate actress, artist, trailblazer and role model. Nobody possessed her grace, intellect, and sensitivity. I’m blessed to have known her and bathed in her wisdom. May she rest in Power and Peace.” — via Twitter
“Incredibly sad to learn of the passing of Cicely Tyson. She was a true icon in many ways. Whenever you were graced to be in her presence it was an unforgettable blessing. My heart goes out to her family and loved ones.” — via Twitter
“All Hail… in the wake of your Power, Strength, Beauty, Grace AND SKILLS we bow down in gratitude. We forever will be lead by your light Queen Cicely” — via Twitter
“We have lost a visionary, a leader, a lover, an author, an ICON, and one of the most talented actresses the world has ever seen. A life, a career, a fire to celebrated forevermore! #RIPCicelyTyson” — via Twitter
“To have gotten to be in the same room as you multiple times, is truly to have been in the presence of GREATNESS!!. There are no words, just all the feelings you’ve evoked in us all and the indescribable blueprint, legacy you leave for us all. Thank you REST IN POWER!” — via Twitter
“America has had a lot of great actresses, but none greater than Cicely Tyson. Rest in Power.” — via Twitter
Taraji P. Henson
“WOW…what a life!! Rest In Peace Cicely Tyson, you paved the way for SO many of us and I can’t express my gratitude enough! A true icon, legend, and showstopper—you will be truly missed.” — via Instagram