Groundbreaking gay author, screenwriter, political essayist, and playwright Gore Vidal died Tuesday at age 86, as reported on his official website.

Vidal's legacy includes penning The City and the Pillar, one of the first mainstream American novels to feature overtly gay characters. He is commonly regarded as an important figure in LGBT representation and sexual liberation.

Throughout his career, he continued to incorporate gay themes. In the documentary The Celluloid Closet, Vidal admitted he had added overt homosexual subtext to his screenplay for Ben-Hur.

Vidal was also a prolific and controversial political activist. He was a member of the leftwing World Can't Wait organization and advocated the impeachment of George W. Bush.

Vidal's other works include the novels Myra Breckenridge, Lincoln, and Burr; his memoir Palimpsest; and the screenplays for Suddenly, Last Summer, Is Paris Burning, and Caligula. A revival of his play The Best Man is currently running on Broadway.

[Image via AP]