Opalanga Pugh, 57, an internationally known storyteller who drew her inspiration from traditional African storytelling, has died.

The Denver native died of bone cancer Saturday at her home, with family and friends at her side.

"She had the ability to bring you on a journey through parts of your soul you never wanted to go, and bring you back safe," said her younger brother, Lloyd Pugh.

Ms. Pugh discovered the flavor of storytelling while traveling in Nigeria and studied traditional African storytelling in Gambia. Beginning in 1986, she traveled the world, sharing stories and holding ceremonies.

She graduated from high school in Denver and received numerous awards for her storytelling and outreach. She was featured in an NBC show as an African American "Living Legend" and in numerous articles by national publications such as the Wall Street Journal and Christian Science Monitor. Her work is housed in the Library of Congress.

She was diagnosed with bone cancer five years ago, and pieces of her struggle seeped into her storytelling in recent years, said Cleo Parker Robinson, a lifelong friend and a well-known choreographer and dancer.

- Denver Post