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Amiri Baraka

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Amiri Baraka, the legendary poet, playwright, activist, music critic and author, died on Thursday in New Jersey. He was 79 years old.

Last month Baraka had suffered complications from surgery and was placed in intensive care at Beth Israel Medical Center in New Jersey. A spokesman for his son—Newark, N.J., South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka—said in late December that he thought Baraka's condition was improving. The cause of his death is still unknown.

Condolences and tributes poured in throughout social media for Baraka, whose body of work drew both praise and criticism. He published countless pieces of nonfiction, one of the most notable being Blues People: Negro Music in White America, a seminal book on the history of black music.

Akoto Ofori-Atta is the editor of The Grapevine. Like her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter.

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