The news was confirmed by Roth's agent Andrew Wylie.
Philip Roth died on Tuesday night at a hospital in Manhattan.
He is to be laid to rest next week at Bard College, where he taught and where political theorist Hannah Arendt is also buried. Perhaps his most famous work is "Portnoy's Complaint", an unflinching look at young male sexuality.
Along with Saul Bellow and John Updike, Roth helped define the American novel in the post-World War II era, exploring "what it means to be American, a Jew, a writer, a man", the Times said. "None of us came close", tweeted Michael Green, the producer and Oscar-nominated screenplay writer.
In the novel The Ghost Writer he quoted one of his heroes, Franz Kafka: "We should only read those books that bite and sting us". His "Plot against America" found renewed significance under the Donald Trump presidency and he published "Nemesis", his final novel, in 2010, before announcing his retirement in 2012.
Eight of Roth's novels have been adapted into movies, including the 2016 drama "Indignation" starring Logan Lerman and Sarah Gadon, and "American Pastoral" starring Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning and Uzo Aduba.
"What a marvelous, rigorous mind", he tweeted. "I don't write Jewish, I write American", he said in his own words. His best known works include Portnoy's Complaint, I Married a Communist, The Human Stain, and his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel American Pastoral. He was awarded countless prizes and distinctions, some of m most prestigious that a writer can aspire, including Prince of Asturias of letters or Man Booker International to his entire career in 2011.
He said the cause was congestive heart failure.
He divided his time between NY, where he spent the winters, and his 18th century farmhouse in CT, where he wrote in a converted out-house.
Philip Milton Roth was born on March 19, 1933, in Newark, New Jersey. He adored his parents, especially his father, an insurance salesman to whom he paid tribute in the memoir Patrimony. Like him, he went into abysses of human condition without calculating risks: "Every morning, I feel that I descend to a mine, from which at end of day I return with materials that after I have to go to page", he said in that conversation.
"I did not want to, did not intend to, and was not able to speak for American Jews; I surely did not deny, and no one questioned the fact, that I spoke to them, and I hope to others as well", Roth wrote in his essay "Writing About Jews".
How Philip Roth's Writing Transcended The Narrow Confines Of A Culture Philip Roth, one of the country's most celebrated writers, has died at 85. "He was a truth teller", Roth's friend Judith Thurman, also a writer, said.
The New York Times, which had an interview with Roth earlier this year, will remember the author as "a passionate student of American history and the American vernacular".
The president of the Philip Roth Society, Aimee Pozorski, once said of Roth, "From the very beginning of his career, he has been deeply invested in representing the lives and fates of Jewish youth".