The prominent Russian-American sculptor Ernst Neizvestny has died in New York at the age of 91.
Media reports in Russia quote Neizvestny's friends in New York as saying that he died in a hospital on August 9 after being admitted with abdominal pains.
In a telegram to Neizvestny’s relatives and friends, Russian President Vladimir Putin described him as "one of the greatest sculptors of our times," according to the Kremlin.
His death is a "grievous loss" for world culture, Putin added.
Neizvestny was a veteran of the Soviet Red Army who had fought against Nazi Germany in WWII.
In 1962, then-Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev harshly criticized Neizvestny's artwork.
Nevertheless, Neizvestny was asked by Khrushchev’s relatives to design and build Khrushchev's tombstone at Moscow's Novodevichye cemetery.
As a Jewish citizen, he was allowed to leave the Soviet Union and did so in 1976 -- moving to Switzerland for one year before settling in New York City.
Neizvestny’s artworks can be found in many sites across the world.
One of his best-known works is a gigantic sculpture called The Mask Of Sorrow that was unveiled in 1996 in Magadan, Russia. It commemorates victims of the Soviet gulag system.
With reporting by Interfax and RIA