The writer passed away at his home in Los Angeles on Tuesday (31Jul12) after suffering complications of pneumonia, according to his nephew Burr Steers.
Vidal started writing at the age of 19, and caused a stir with his novel The City and the Pillar, which many critics refused to review because of its focus on homosexuality.
He went on to write 25 books, including Burr, Lincoln and Empire.
As well as novels, Vidal worked on screenplays for movies including Ben-Hur and Caligula, and enjoyed acclaim as a playwright with his Broadway hit The Best Man, which won six Tony Awards, including Best Play after it debuted in 1960.
A respected essayist, Vidal was named “(the twentieth) century’s finest” by critic John Keats and focused on controversial topics including sex, history and sociopolitical themes.
He went on to unsuccessfully run for office in New York and California, and enjoyed fame thanks to his regular appearances in popular culture hits, lending his voice to characters on The Simpsons and Family Guy.