The three-time Pulitzer Prize winner passed away at his home in Montauk, New York on Friday (16Sep16) after a brief illness, according to his assistant Jackob Holder.

Albee wrote his first play, The Zoo Story, at the age of 30 and after being passed over by American theatre producers, it opened in Berlin, Germany in 1959.

However, he struck gold in 1962 with his Broadway debut, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which landed him five Tony Awards, including Best Play, and is widely considered his finest work.

It was initially recommended for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1963, but its nomination was rejected by Pulitzer boardmembers, who objected to the play's use of profanity and sexual themes. No award was handed out that year.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was later adapted into an Oscar-winning movie directed by Mike Nichols and starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton as a troubled married couple, and it was most recently revived on Broadway for another Tony-winning turn in 2012.

Albee claimed his first Pulitzer in 1967 for A Delicate Balance, which was also adapted for the big screen with Katharine Hepburn as Agnes. It was revived on Broadway in 2013, when Glenn Close tackled the lead female role, alongside John Lithgow and Martha Plimpton.

Seascape, which he also directed, won him his second Pulitzer in 1975, and he was lauded again in 1994 for Three Tall Women.

In addition, his later works, The Play About the Baby and The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? earned him nominations in 2001 and 2003, respectively.

Among his many career accolades, Albee was recognised at the Kennedy Center Honors and with the National Medal of Arts in 1996. He was also feted with a special Lifetime Achievement at the Tony Awards in 2005.

Albee, who was openly gay, had been in a longtime relationship with sculptor Jonathan Thomas, until his death in 2005.