American author Philip Roth, one of the largest literary figures of the 20th century, died due to heart failure on Tuesday, aged 85.
The 1969 novel "Portnoy's Complaint" rocketed him to fame for its raunchy, hilarious depiction of a teenage boy's lustful urges and ensuing guilt.
Mr. Roth was born in Newark, N.J. The aging industrial city featured in many of his works, dating back to his first published book, 1959's "Goodbye, Columbus", a novella and five short stories that won the National Book Award for fiction the following year.
Author of more than 25 books, Roth was a fierce satirist and uncompromising realist, confronting readers in a bold, direct style that scorned false sentiment or hopes for heavenly reward. "If I'm not an American, I'm nothing", said Roth.
Psychological introspection - resorting to use of alter ego; As novelist Nathan Zuckerman, voice of nine of his novels - was a permanent battlefield of prolific Roth, with memorable works such as Patrimony (1991), in which protagonist examines his complex relationship with his far and is faced with difficulty of being a witness From his agony to his death. In 2012, he announced he would be retiring from writing fiction after expressing pessimism about the future of literature and the novel.
Roth, who was now living in Manhattan and CT at the time of his death, was arguably the most significant New Jersey-born novelist of the 20th Century and many of his works are considered American classics.
Roth won virtually every literary honor including the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral
Former president Barack Obama also awarded Roth with the National Humanities Medal in 2010. "As for how Trump threatens us, I would say that, like the anxious and fear-ridden families in my book, what is most terrifying is that he makes any and everything possible, including, of course, the nuclear catastrophe", he said.
His final novel "Nemesis", about a 1944 polio epidemic, came out in 2010.
But Roth was true to his word and, he claimed, perfectly content with life-after-literature, even though he readily admitted that writing had long served as a way to keep depression at bay.
Roth's personal life was dragged into the spotlight following his messy breakup with British actress Claire Bloom, who painted a grim picture of life with her ex-husband in her 1996 memoir "Leaving a Doll's House".
After the 2016 election, many opined Roth's 2004 novel foreshadowed the conditions America would go through under Trump's presidency, including the rise of xenophobia. "In my life I have had, in total, a couple of months of these completely wonderful days as a writer, and that is enough".
He first Wednesday Margaret Martinson Williams in 1959 but the couple divorced four years later. "The person is a model who then develops into somebody", he said.