Pete Hamill, the legendary journalist and novelist who was practically synonymous with New York City, died on Wednesday at the age of 85, the New York Times reports.

He died of organ failure in a Brooklyn hospital three days after falling at his home.

Hamill started his career in journalism as a reporter for the New York Post; he began writing columns for the newspaper in 1965. He later wrote a column for the New York Daily News before becoming its editor-in-chief.

Hamill was also the author of several books, the first of which, A Killing for Christ, was published in 1968. His other novels included Snow in August and North River.

His best-known book was probably his 1994 memoir A Drinking Life, a chronicle of his early experiences with alcohol, which he would later give up.

On Twitter, admirers of Hamill paid tribute to the writer.

“He was the heart and conscience of New York journalism, and the kind of writer that all of us wished we could be,” author Carl Hiaasen wrote. “Pete was a cherished friend and mentor to me, and to so many others. A giant, generous talent. Irreplaceable.”

And journalist Mike Lupica tweeted, “He was not just a giant of newspapers and fiction and of his city, he was kind and generous and lived a life, to use his own words, defined by ‘an old-fashioned thing called grace.’”

Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.