Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a stalwart liberal on the US Supreme Court since 1993, has died at age 87 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, the court said.
Ginsburg, affectionately known as the Notorious RBG, passed away "this evening surrounded by her family at her home in Washington, DC," the court said in a statement.
Only the second woman ever appointed to the Supreme Court, her death less than two months before a high-stakes presidential election will likely see President Donald Trump move quickly to name her successor.
The Republican-led Senate is equally likely to confirm the nomination at record speed, cementing a conservative majority on the court which has final say on a number of the touchiest subjects dividing America – from abortion to firearms, civil rights to the death penalty.
She was a staunch opponent of President Donald Trump.
She was outspoken in her condemnations of the president, a man she criticised for his "ego" and whose impact on the court she said she did not "even want to contemplate."
'Titan of the law'
Trump hailed the Ginsburg as a "titan of the law" whose legal expertise and historic decisions have inspired generations of Americans.
"Today, our nation mourns the loss of a titan of the law" who was "renowned for her brilliant mind and her powerful dissents at the Supreme Court," Trump said in a statement.
"Her opinions, including well-known decisions regarding the legal equality of women and the disabled, have inspired all Americans, and generations of great legal minds."
Ginsburg, born in Brooklyn, New York in 1933, served on the court for 27 years.
"Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature," Chief Justice John Roberts was quoted as saying in the court statement.
"We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her – a tireless and resolute champion of justice."
Ginsburg told her granddaughter she didn't want to be replaced until "a new president is installed," US media reported.
A few days before her death, Ginsburg dictated the statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed," according to NPR.