Wangari Maathai: A life in photos

Updated 12:33 PM ET, Mon September 26, 2011
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Kenyan environmentalist and human rights activist, Wangari Maathai has died at the age of 71 Green Belt Movement
Maathai was a trailblazer throughout her life. She was the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree and in 2002 was elected to Kenya's parliament with 98 percent of the vote. AFP/Getty Images
In 2004, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote sustainable development, democracy and peace. AFP/Getty Images
Wangari was the first African woman to win the Nobel prize but followed previous winners from the continent such as Nelson Mandela. AFP/Getty Images
Maathai was famed for her commitment to environmental causes. Here she confronts hired security guards in Kenya aiming to prevent her organization, the Green Belt Movement from planting trees AFP/Getty Images
All in all, the Green Belt Movement has assisted in planting more than 40 million trees worldwide. Green Belt Movement
Maathai was also committed to the cause of reducing poverty and took part in the Live 8 campaign alongside rock superstars such as Bob Geldof and Bono. AFP/Getty Images
Wangari Maathai plants a tree in Nairobi 2006 with the visiting --then Senator for the state of Illinois -- Barack Obama. AFP/Getty Images
In 2007, Maathai received the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding, administered by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. Previous recipients of the award include Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Indira Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.
Receiving the Chairman's award alongside fellow environmental campaigner and Nobel Prize Winner, Al Gore at the NAACP Image Awards in 2009. Maathai is survived by her three children and grandaughter. Getty Images