Philip Roth, Pulitzer Prize-Winning American Author, Dead at 85

The novelist was as prolific as he was controversial.

Pulitzer prize-winning author Philip Roth has died.

The famed novelist was 85. He died of congestive heart failure in a New York hospital Tuesday while surrounded by friends and family.

"He was an incredibly generous person," his friend Judith Thurman told CNN as he confirmed his death. "Always very exigent, and he held you to a very high standard — and he held himself to an even higher standard. He was, in my opinion, a very great writer and a very great man."

Thurman's opinion is shared widely in the literary community, where Roth was as prolific as he was controversial.

The Newark, N.J., native attended Bucknell University and, just five years after graduating, won the National Book Award for his novel "Goodbye Columbus."

Decades later, he won another National Book Award for 1995's "Sabbath's Theatre," according to

He would go on to win the Pulitzer Prize for 1997's "American Pastoral."

"One thing I admire about Philip Roth was that he was able to mix very high drama with what was often very low humor," novelist and Rutgers University professor Tadzio Koelb told "People often forget that philip roth could, at times, be very, very funny."

More recently, Roth published what would be his final novel "Nemesis" in 2010. 

Two years later, the reclusive novelist announced he was finished with the works of fiction that brought him fame and the highest of accolades.

"I decided that I was done with fiction," he said, per CNN. "I don't want to read any more of it, write any more of it, and I don't even want to talk about it anymore... I no longer feel this dedication to write what I have experienced my whole life."