Regarded as one of the foremost artists of the 20th Century, Sondheim wrote the lyrics for West Side Story and composed Into the Woods among many others including Sweeny Todd and Company.
Sondheim’s friend and lawyer F Richard Pappas announced his death, which he described as “sudden”.
According to Pappas, Sondheim had spent the previous day having a Thanksgiving dinner with friends in Roxbury, Connecticut.
On hearing the news, fans of Sondheim’s started to share their favourite songs of his online.
“Stephen Sondheim was a genius,” one fan wrote, “One of the most important cultural figures of the last 100 years. “Send in the Clowns” is probably my favourite song ever, and I’m an old punk – albeit with a soppy heart.”
You can see some more of the reactions here:
Born in New York in 1930, Sondheim was tutored by the great composer Oscar Hammerstein and wrote his first musical at 15. He went on to have his first hit at just 27 with West Side Story which was a retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in Fifties New York City.
In a Broadway career that lasted over 60 years, Sondheim co-created other classics of the stage such as Gypsy, Sweeney Todd and Company.
Across his lengthy career, Sondheim won nine Tony Awards, an Academy Award, eight Grammys and and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1985.
Sondheim was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2015.