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“A heart unlike any other.” Barack and Michelle Obama took a second to pay tribute and honor the late Cicely Tyson. The iconic actress died on Thursday on the age of 96. The former president posted a photograph of himself, his spouse and Tyson, in addition to one other of him awarding the actress the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“When Cicely Tyson was born, doctors predicted she wouldn’t make it three months because of a murmur in her heart. What they didn’t know, what they couldn’t know, was that Cicely had a heart unlike any other,” Barack penned in a prolonged and heartfelt assertion. “The kind that would not only beat for 96 more years but leave a mark on the world that few could match.”

Barack continued by acknowledging Tyson’s unimaginable work, her upbringing, and her ardour to “speak her truth.”

“At a time when parts for actors who looked like her weren’t easy to come by, she refused to take on roles that reduced Black women to their gender or their race. Sometimes, that meant she would go years without work,” the politician famous. “But she took pride in knowing that whenever her face was on camera, she would be playing a character who was a human being — flawed but resilient; perfect not despite but because of their imperfections.”

He added that along with her movies and exhibits, “She helped us see the dignity within all who made up our miraculous — and, yes, messy — American family.”

“Michelle and I were honored when Cicely came to the White House to accept the Medal of Freedom, knowing she was one of the many giants upon whose shoulders we stood ,” he relayed. “A trailblazer whose legacy couldn’t be measured by her Emmys and Tony and Oscar alone, but by the barriers she broke and the dreams she made possible.” He concluded by sending her household their ideas and prayers. 

Michelle, in the meantime, posted two pictures of herself with Tyson, writing how in awe she was Tyson’s “humanity.”

“Just by walking into a room, she had this way of elevating everyone around her. She was the personification of beauty, grace, wisdom, and strength,” she expressed. “Carrying forward a flame that not only guided her for 96 pathbreaking years but lit the way for so many of us.”

Michelle shared that she is going to “miss her dearly,” however “smile knowing how many people she inspired, just like me, to walk a little taller, speak a little more freely, and live a little bit more like God intended.”

In 2016, Tyson was amongst a choose group of 21 actors, musicians, athletes and innovators awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then President Obama. The medal is the nation’s highest civilian honor and Tyson obtained hers alongside Ellen DeGeneres, Diana Ross, Michael Jordan and Bruce Springsteen.

“In her long and extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson has not only succeeded as an actor, she has shaped the whole course of history,” Obama stated on the presentation. “Cicely was by no means the likeliest of Hollywood stars. The daughter of immigrants from the West Indies, she was raised by a hardworking and non secular mom who cleaned homes and forbade her youngsters to attend the films. But as soon as she obtained her training and broke into the enterprise, Cicely made a aware determination not simply to say strains, however to talk out.”

When later asked by Variety how it felt to be complimented by the then-president, she replied, “I used to be so embarrassed, I used to be pink as a beet!”

Many different celebrities, together with Viola Davis, Tyler Perry, Oprah and Ava DuVernay, additionally paid tribute to the late and nice star.

Just this week, Tyson released her memoir, Just As I Am, written with collaborator Michelle Burford, sharing an intimate look back at her life, “plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland put aside.”

For extra on her life and legacy, watch the video within the participant above.

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