American science fiction and fantasy author Ursula K Le Guin has died, aged 88, her family has announced. She passed away at her home in Portland, Oregon, on Tuesday after months of ill health, The New York Times reported.

Le Guin was known for writing science fiction and fantasy with a feminist sensibility and attained popularity for books such as The Left Hand of Darkness, a science fiction classic that is set on a planet called Gethen where everyone is ambisexual, and the Earthsea series. Even her male protagonists were not macho like a number of science fiction and fantasy heroes.

Le Guin was born Ursula Kroeber on October 21, 1929 in Berkeley, California. She won a number of Nebula and Hugo science fiction and fantasy awards in a career that spanned more than half a century. She was also honoured with the Newbery Medal, the most prestigious honour for children’s literature in America, and the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American letters. In 2000, The US Library of Congress designated her a Living Legend for her contributions to the country’s cultural heritage.

She married historian Charles Le Guin in 1953, and they had three children.