US Author Gore Vidal Dies Aged 86

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Celebrated writer and political commentator Gore Vidal has died aged 86, according to US media.

Writer Gore Vidal is pictured at the "2005 Literary Awards" hosted by PEN USA in Los Angeles in this November 9, 2005 file photo

Celebrated writer and political commentator Gore Vidal has died aged 86, according to US media.

He died at his home in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening of complications from pneumonia, his nephew, Burr Steers, told AP.

A prolific writer, Gore Vidal produced 25 novels, including the best-selling Burr and Myra Breckenridge, more than 200 essays, and several plays.

He also ran for political office twice and was a well-known commentator.

Mr Steers told the Associated Press that his uncle had been ill "for quite a while".

Along with such contemporaries as Norman Mailer and Truman Capote, Gore Vidal was among a generation of literary writers who were also genuine celebrities - fixtures on talk shows and in gossip columns.

He wrote his first book aged only 19 and later went on to become one of America's most distinguished authors, although he was not always comfortable with the literary and political establishment.

Born in 1925, Eugene Luther Vidal was also the scion of one of America's grandest political dynasties.

His grandfather, TP Gore, was a senator and his father a one-time Secretary of Aviation under President Franklin D Roosevelt.