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Sylvia Woods, the matriarch of the famed Harlem restaurant that bore her name and a New York City icon, died Thursday at her Westchester home, family members said in a statement.

She was 86 and had been battling Alzheimer’s disease, her family said.

“She gallantly battled Alzheimer’s for the past several years, but never once lost her loving smile,” said her granddaughter Tren’ness Woods-Black.

Woods had been scheduled to receive an award Thursday night at a Grace Mansion reception commemorating the 50th anniversary of her restaurant. Instead, there was a moment of silence in her honor.

The mayor, along with Williams, Assemblyman Keith Wright and Tim Zagat, presented the award  to a family friend, who accepted it on the family’s behalf. The event was part of the annual Harlem Week reception at Gracie Mansion.

Woods, born in Hemingway, S.C., worked at a restaurant in Harlem for eight years before buying it in 1962.

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article courtesy of NBCNewYork.com

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