ONE of Australia's Living National Treasures, art critic and historian Robert Hughes, has died in New York after a long illness.
The author of at least 16 published works, including the best-selling and controversial Fatal Shore, was 74.
Media reports said Mr Hughes's wife Doris was by his bedside when he died at Calvary Hospital early on Tuesday.
The Australian media elected Mr Hughes a Living National Treasure on behalf of the National Trust of Australia in 1997.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard led the tributes for Mr Hughes.
"Few people who ever lived can have been so completely cosmopolitan, and completely Australian as Robert Hughes. His was, in every sense, a great Australian voice," she said in a statement.
"Our thoughts today are with his wife Doris Downes Hughes and his family."