The Pulitzer Prize-winning author died in the Connecticut farmhouse he bought with Marilyn Monroe in 1958, his sister Joan Copeland said.

Miller was the onetime husband of screen idol Marilyn Monroe.

He had been suffering from cancer, pneumonia and a heart condition.

Miller became an intellectual hero of the American left during the McCarthy era, when he was called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956 and refused to name Communists he knew.

He was cited for contempt of Congress, but the ruling was overturned two years later.

“The Crucible,” his play about the 17th-century Salem witch trials, was widely seen as a denunciation of senator Joseph McCarthy and the anti-Communist hysteria whipped up by his committee.

Ms Copeland said her brother had been diagnosed with cancer some months ago and, after being looked after in her Manhattan apartment for several weeks, was moved this week at his own request to the 18th-century Connecticut farmhouse.

“He had cancer and he wanted to go home. And I guess that’s what he went home for, to die,” she said.

Among the family members at his side were his daughter, Rebecca, an actress married to the actor Daniel Day-Lewis, his grandchildren and his 34-year-old girlfriend, the painter Agnes Barley.

The son of Jewish immigrants of Polish origin, Miller was born in New York in 1915. He decided to become a writer after reading Dostoevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov” as an 18-year-old high-school graduate.

To study journalism, he entered the University of Michigan in 1934, where he won awards for playwriting, as did his contemporary Tennessee Williams.

After graduating in 1938, Miller returned to New York, where he met and married his first wife, Mary Slattery, with whom he had two children.

After writing scripts for various radio programs, Miller’s first play to appear on Broadway was 1944’s “The Man Who Had All the Luck.” It closed after just four performances.

Just five years later, however, he won international acclaim and a Pulitzer Prize at the tender age of 33 for “Death of a Salesman,” which became one of the major achievements of modern American theatre through the creation of its tragic ant-hero, Willy Loman.

Further fame, and an unwanted invasive level of celebrity, followed with Miller’s marriage to Monroe in 1956.

The match was not a happy one, a fact Miller attributed in part to Monroe’s self-destructive streak and the incompatibility of her personal vulnerabilities with the intense public spotlight on her life.

“She was a poet on a street corner trying to recite to a crowd pulling at her clothes,” Miller once said.

The couple divorced in 1961 and, the following year, Monroe died of a drug overdose.

“It had to happen. I didn’t know when or how, but it was inevitable,” Miller said.

In his largely autobiographical 1964 play, “After the Fall,” Miller was widely assumed to have based Maggie, the self-destructive central character, on Monroe.

A year after his divorce, Miller married the Austrian photographer Inge Morath, with whom he cooperated on two books about China and Russia. Morath died in 2002.

“The job is to ask questions; it always was,” Miller once said of his work. “And to ask them as inexorably as I can. And to face the absence of precise answers with a certain humility.

“All the plays that I was trying to write were plays that would grab an audience by the throat and not release them, rather than presenting an emotion which you could observe and walk away from,” he said.

Miller’s later works were poorly received by American critics, and he took to denouncing what he saw as Broadway’s overly commercial culture.

“I’m the end of the line,” he said. “Absurd and appalling as it may seem, serious New York theatre has died in my lifetime.”

Ms Copeland said her brother had some trouble talking as his illness progressed, but added that his mind “never stopped working.”

“He knew everything, he was on top of everything,” she said. “But the decline in the last couple of weeks was very dramatic.”

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