Photo Credit: Randee St. NicholasThe world was saddened to learn of poet and author Maya Angelou‘s passing Wednesday at age 86. Martina McBride was one of those fortunate enough to get to know Maya in the past few years. It turns out the author was a big fan of Martina’s songs like “Independence Day,” “A Broken Wing” and “In My Daughter’s Eyes.” When Martina was honored for her charity work by Redbook magazine at a 2003 gala in New York City, Maya Angelou presented the award to her and said, “Here, take my hand; I celebrate you.”

Martina later attended Maya’s 2010 birthday party in North Carolina. She says, “Maya Angelou lived her life inspiring, educating, championing, lifting, nourishing, giving, and loving. Her influence on the world, by speaking the truth and sharing her wisdom and her spirit, is immense and unforgettable. She made you want to be a better person. That was her real gift to us all.”

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