Mike Tyson on Maya Angelou: 'She Enlightened Me'

Boxing legend fondly remembers beloved poet and author visiting him in prison.

Posted: 05/29/2014 08:18 AM EDT

Maya Angelou’s work touched a legion of admirers. One of them was boxing legend Mike Tyson.

Upon learning of the beloved poet and author’s passing Wednesday, Tyson told TMZ Sports how Angelou had a great impact on his life, even famously visiting him in prison in 1994 while he was serving time for a rape conviction.

"We lost one of the greatest constellations to the human universe," Tyson told TMZ about Angelou. "I had the pleasure to meet Ms. Angelou on a few occasions and each time was very enlightening. I was intrigued and would ask her about the greats from her era such as Billie Holiday, Malcolm X and Fats Waller. These people were just book novels, interesting reading to me but real people to her. I'm just very grateful for the times I shared with this phenomenal woman, even though they were brief."

Tyson added that Angelou visiting him in prison, “changed the way I thought about a number of things.”

News of Angelou’s death Wednesday delivered swift reaction from President Obama, former President Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey, who commented, "I've been blessed to have Maya Angelou as my mentor, mother/sister, and friend since my 20s" and that "she will always be the rainbow in my clouds."

Angelou was 86.

Join BET.com in celebrating the legendary life of Maya Angelou.

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(Photos from left:  Angela Weiss/Getty Images, E. Neitzel/WireImage)

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