New York (AP) – Chuck Close rose to world fame with oversized portraits – the American artist is now deceased at the age of 81.

Close died Thursday (local time) at a hospital in Oceanside, New York, as reported by several US media, citing his lawyer John Silberman. The Pace Gallery, where Close exhibited regularly during his career, also confirmed the artist’s death. As a result, he died of heart failure after a long illness.

Chuck Close was one of America’s most famous, successful, and influential contemporary artists. The “New York Times” once celebrated him as the “master of modern portraiture.” He was particularly known for his psychedelic portraits, for which he transferred photos into a grid-like grid on the canvas. Faces are clearly visible from a distance, but up close they blend into a pattern of pixels.

But the painter was also controversial. In 2017, two women accused him of sexual harassment. He made suggestive comments to them. Close apologized: “If I’ve ever embarrassed or made someone uncomfortable, I’m so sorry, that wasn’t my intention,” he told The New York Times. “I admit having a dirty mouth, but we are all adults.” However, his career hasn’t really recovered since then.

Charles Thomas Close was born in Monroe, Washington, United States in 1940. His father was a craftsman and died when the boy was eleven years old. The mother had to give piano lessons to support the family. As a child, his parents recognized Close’s talent and sent him to an art school. In the early 1960s, he entered Yale Summer Academy on the east coast of the United States as part of a national competition. Then he studied at the art and architecture faculty of the elite university. After a year of study in Vienna, he moved to New York.

Close had been in a wheelchair since 1988 after a blood vessel burst in her spine. At first he was paralyzed from neck to toe, but with the help of therapy he began to move his arms. He could paint with brushes attached to his hand. “Anyone who wants to paint will find a way to bring color to the canvas. What if he has to spit it out, ”he once said.

Close leaves two adult daughters with his first wife, Leslie Rose. He then married artist Sienna Shields, the couple broke up soon after. In recent years, he’s spent a lot of time in Miami Beach instead of his studio in New York’s Artist District Soho or his estate in an upscale Long Island neighborhood.