Cicely Tyson Remembered by Octavia Spencer, Shonda Rhimes, Zendaya and More: 'A National Treasure'

Following Cicely Tyson's death on Thursday, a slew of A-list stars honored the trailblazer for her work in portraying strong Black women in film and TV. 

Tyson died on Thursday at the age of 96, according to her manager Larry Thompson.

Octavia Spencer honored Tyson on Instagram, writing, "#CicelyTyson was a national treasure who paved the way for so many of us. #RIP Ms. Tyson! It was truly an honor to work with you."

Common, Tiffany Haddish and Shonda Rhimes also honored Tyson. Rhimes shared her memories of working with Tyson on How to Get Away with Murder on Instagram, writing, "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."

Viola Davis, who starred in the show with Tyson, commemorated the actress in an emotional Instagram tribute writing, "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," Davis wrote. "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. Rest well 💔💔💔."

"This one hurts, today we honor and celebrate the life of one of the greatest to ever do it," Zendaya tweeted. "Thank you Cicely Tyson. Rest in great power."

Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi and Zoë Kravitz also shared tributes on Instagram.

"Heartbroken by the passing of the legendary Cicely Tyson 💔💔," Shahidi wrote. "From her iconic roles and dedication to her craft, to being the first Black Women to wear her hair naturally on TV, to being my first movie grandmother and guiding me with such care … her impact is TRULY INCALCULABLE #RestInPower."

Maria Shriver, Soledad O'Brien and actress Marlee Matlin also remembered the Sounder actress on social media. 

"Wow, what a loss! Cicely Tyson just published her memoir this week! She told her amazing life story in "Just As I Am," and now I am heartbroken to hear the news of her passing," Shriver wrote on Instagam. "Cicely was a trailblazer. A pioneer, a force, and an elegant women of class. I looked up to her, marveled at her! I'm so glad she lived to see her memoir published, just two days ago. Life is so frickin fragile… #cicelytyson."

Tyson's manager Larry Thompson revealed the news of the actress's death on Thursday in a statement writing, "I have managed Miss Tyson's career for over 40 years, and each year was a privilege and blessing."

"Cicely thought of her new memoir as a Christmas tree decorated with all the ornaments of her personal and professional life," he continued. "Today she placed the last ornament, a Star, on top of the tree."

Tyson starred in decades-worth of film and television including the notable 1972 drama Sounder, for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, which earned her two Emmy awards, as well as Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All. In 2018, she became the first Black woman to receive an honorary Oscar.

"It's very exciting to know that you are, hopefully, making a roadway for someone else to follow," she recently told PEOPLE.

Tyson was formerly married to jazz legend Miles Davis for seven years from 1981 to 1988 and has one daughter from a brief early marriage.

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