The father of tragic actor Christopher Reeve has passed away at the age of 84.

Franklin D'Olier Reeve, a celebrated poet, died in New Hampshire on 28 June (13) after a long battle with diabetes.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he attended Princeton University in New Jersey and received his graduate degree from New York's Columbia University before marrying Barbara Lamb, the Superman star's mother, in 1951.

Their relationship ended in divorce and he went on to marry three more times.

Over the course of his life, the author published more than 30 works, including a book about his 1962 goodwill mission trip to the Soviet Union with Robert Frost after he was named a U.S. cultural ambassador by President John F. Kennedy, who asked the star to recite a poem at his inauguration.

Reeve also taught Russian language and literature at Wesleyan University in Connecticut for several years.

His son Christopher, who was left a quadriplegic following a 1995 horse riding accident, died from a cardiac arrest in 2004.