American poet Philip Levine has passed away, aged 87.

Levine lost his battle with pancreatic and liver cancer on Saturday (14Feb15), and died at his home in Fresno, California.

Known for his work focusing on the lives of blue-collar workers, Levine's career spanned six decades.

He won two national book awards - the first in 1980 for Ashes: Poems New & Old, and the second for What Work Is in 1991. In 1995, he was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for his collection of poems called The Simple Truth.

The Library of Congress named Levine the U.S. poet laureate in 2011 for a two-year period and he was feted with the Wallace Stevens Award for proven mastery of poetry by the Academy of American Poets in 2013.

Levine also served as a professor emeritus at California State University in Fresno, California.