Cicely Tyson Dead at 96: Shonda Rhimes, Zendaya & More Pay Tribute

Cicely Tyson is being remembered by her former colleagues, fans, friends and family. The iconic Emmy-winning actress died on Thursday at the age of 96.

“With heavy heart, the family of Miss Cicely Tyson announces her peaceful transition this afternoon,” Tyson’s family said, via her manager, Larry Thompson. “At this time, please allow the family their privacy.  A formal statement and details will follow.”

As news broke of her death, Shonda Rhimes, who worked with Tyson on How to Get Away With Murder, tweeted, “I really need this not to be true.” She also retweeted Netflix’s message, which reads: “A force in her industry who opened the door for so many to follow. There will never be another with the poise, class, and talent of Cicely Tyson. Rest in power.”

In an Instagram post, Rhimes added, “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. #cicelytyson.”

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I really need this not to be true

A force in her industry who opened the door for so many to follow. There will never be another with the poise, class, and talent of Cicely Tyson.

Rest in power.

Zendaya posted a stunning black-and-white photo of Tyson, expressing her sadness. “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,” the actress wrote.

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The Real’s Loni Love also wrote. “My heart….#CicelyTyson.”

My heart….#CicelyTyson

See more tributes below:

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America has had a lot of great actresses, but none greater than Cicely Tyson. Rest in Power ❤️

Cicely Tyson: “We fought for everything.” And we thank you for it. Here’s part of my interview with the legendary ⁦@IAmCicelyTyson⁩ #RIP#CicelyTyson

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… ♥️ RIP

A post shared by Octavia Spencer (@octaviaspencer)

RIP Cicely Tyson

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We’ve lost one of the all-time greats. RIP Cicely Tyson.

A post shared by Zoë Kravitz (@zoeisabellakravitz)

The King Center joins the world in remembering the life and legacy of #CicelyTyson. Trailblazer is not a sufficient description. What a legendary artist, sage and matriarch. We salute her. Rest in power, Lady Cicely.

Stunned to hear that Cicely Tyson had joined the ancestors. Words like “trailblazer,” “genius,” and “legend” are shamefully insufficient when describing Ms. Tyson. May she rest in perfect peace.

So many great stories about Cicely Tyson! Whew: that lady was amazing. While shooting a doc on her in Spanish Harlem—people kept stopping their cars! In the street! To hop out and say hi! Old people. Teenagers. Middle aged fans. “Ciss-el-lee” they’d chant as she’d walk by!

A post shared by Nischelle Turner (@nischelleturner)

Legend. Rest in Paradise Queen. Thank you for kicking doors down for girls like me. #CicelyTyson

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Condolences to the Tyson family. 💔 May she Rest In Peace.

a woman of immense dignity, grace, incredible talent. a life packed with layers of greatness. i named my daughter after her @IAmCicelyTyson


Tyson’s death comes a day after Oscar-winner actress Cloris Leachman died at the age of 94. For more on her passing, watch below.

Cloris Leachman, Emmy and Oscar-Winning Actress, Dead at 94

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