Gore Vidal, Author and Commentator, Dies at 86

Celebrated author and playwright Gore Vidal has died at age 86 on Tuesday.

His nephew, Burr Steers, said Vidal died at his home in the Hollywood Hills from complications arising after contracting pneumonia, according to USA Today.

Vidal had been living along in the home and had been ill for "quite awhile," Steers noted.

The eclectic author carried himself with the pose of an aristocrat as a tall, handsome individual with an authoritative stance on many issues. Vidal's best sellers included "Myra Breckenridge" and "Burr" and the Broadway play "The Best Man," but he was also a politician and a commentator.

Vidal was born into politics and a wealthy family at West Point, N.Y. in 1925. His father was a star West Point football player who became the military academy's first aviation instructor, which led to a love affair with Amelia Earhart. Vidal's mother was an actress and socialite who had an "on-and-off affair with Clark Gable." She would later marry Jacqueline Kennedy's stepfather.

Much of Vidal's childhood was spent in Washington, D.C. with his grandfather, Oklahoma's iconic blind senator Thomas P. Gore. Although he did not attend college after prep school, Vidal said he received a great education by reading to his grandfather.

His works include novels "Washington, D.C.," "Lincoln," "The City and the Pillar," among others.

In 1960, he unsuccessfully ran for Congress in Upstate New York. Two years later, he ran for the Senate in California, but once more was not elected.

While Vidal and his partner Howard Austin were together for over 50 years, the author resisted being called gay. He instead said there was no such thing as a homosexual person, only homosexual acts.

Vidal was a friend of John F. Kennedy's and was also friends with actors such as Susan Sarandon, Paul Newman, and Eli Wallach. His awards included the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2008, he received a lifetime achievement award at the National Book Awards.

Vidal is the distant cousin of former vice president Al Gore.

Following the news of his death, Gore Vidal became a trending topic on Twitter Tuesday with many remembering and mourning the author.

"RIP Gore Vidal, literary icon and contentious orator who could speak eloquently of the Roman empire one second, and then insult you the next," wrote Derek.

Many Twitter users paid tribute to the author by quoting him.

One of the most popular tweets was posted by Martha, who quoted Vidal as saying: "Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half."

The message was retweeted by over 1,000 Twitter users.