David McCullough, one of America’s best-known and most respected historians, has died at 89, the New York Times reports.

McCullough, a Pittsburgh native, was educated at Yale and worked as an editor before releasing his first book, The Johnstown Flood, in 1968. In 1977, he published The Path Between the Seas, a history of the building of the Panama Canal; the book won several literary prizes, including the National Book Award.

His next book, a biography of Theodore Roosevelt titled Mornings on Horseback, also won the National Book Award. He became something of a literary phenomenon in 1992 with Truman, his biography of Harry S. Truman, which became a national bestseller and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

He won another Pulitzer for his 2001 biography, John Adams, which was adapted into a hit HBO miniseries starring Paul Giamatti as the nation’s second president. His most recent book, The Pioneers, about early settlers in the Ohio River region, was published in 2019; in a starred review, a critic for Kirkus called it “vintage McCullough and a book that students of American history will find captivating.”

McCullough’s admirers paid tribute to him on social media. Biographer Walter Isaacson tweeted, “His excellence as a writer was matched by his honor, kindness, and sweetness as a human. He was the consummate storyteller and gentleman.”

And author Jon Meacham wrote, “A generous man who chose to believe the best about America, and about Americans. May light perpetual shine upon him.”

Michael Schaub, a journalist and regular contributor to NPR, lives near Austin, Texas.