US author Philip Roth dies aged 85

The writer has been described as "virtually without peer" and a "writer for our times"

US author Philip Roth dies aged 85

Philip Roth in 2006. Picture by: Beowulf Sheehan/Zuma Press/PA Images

American author Philip Roth has died at the age of 85.

The Pulitzer-prize winner won critical acclaim for his novels, which include American Pastoral and Portnoy's Complaint.

The New York Times has reported that Roth - who was born in Newark, New Jersey, and passed away at a hospital in New York - suffered from congestive heart failure.

His other literary prizes included two National Book Awards for Fiction, and a Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement.

While receiving widespread acclaim for his examinations of American life and his blending of autobiography and fiction, he was also praised for his sense of humour - with some commentators describing his books as among the funniest they've ever read.

Barack Obama, right, presents a National Humanities Medal to novelist Philip Roth, left. Picture by: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP/Press Association Images

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe paid tribute to Roth.

He said: "He's a writer for our times. He wrote a particular book entitled The Plot Against America, which is about what can happen in democracies. If there was ever a book for our times, and a book for reflection, it's that novel.

"His books - his American trilogy, the way he wrote about men and women - he was a fabulous writer, and I think he'll be sorely missed by everyone who has enjoyed his work."

Tributes were also paid across social media: