Philosopher and author Robert M. Pirsig, who wrote the renowned "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," died Monday at his home in South Berwick, Maine, publishing house William Morrow & Company said.
Pirsig was 88 years old. He died after a period of ill health, the publisher said in a statement.
"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," often viewed as one of the most influential works of popular philosophy, was rejected by 121 publishers before William Morrow published the book in 1974, the agency said.
"The book is brilliant beyond belief," Morrow editor James Landis wrote before publication. "It is probably a work of genius and will, I'll wager, attain classic status."
The book was inspired by a 1968 motorcycle trip across the West with his eldest son, Christopher. It went on to sell millions of copies worldwide.
Fans took to Twitter on Monday to express their sympathies and shared quotes by the author.
Pirsig is survived by his wife, Wendy, his son, Ted, his daughter, Nell Peiken, and his three grandchildren. His oldest son Christopher died in 1979.