US poet, singer Rod McKuen dies at 81

File photo of Rod McKuen performing at The 4th Annual S.T.A.G.E. event in Los Angeles, California, on October 25, 2003 (AFP Photo/Giulio Marcocchi)

Washington (AFP) - US poet, songwriter and singer Rod McKuen, a multiple Academy Award nominee, has died at the age of 81, US media reported.

McKuen died on Thursday in Los Angeles of respiratory arrest after suffering from pneumonia, friend and producer Jim Pierson said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

His work included the Academy Award-nominated song "Jean" for the 1969 film "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" and he was nominated for an Oscar again in 1971 for his work on the animated film "A Boy Named Charlie Brown."

McKuen was a prolific composer, working with artists such as Johnny Cash, Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra.

The Hollywood show business publication Variety said he published 30 books of poetry, including "Listen to the Warm," which sold millions of copies, and that McKuen won a spoken word Grammy for "Lonesome Cities."

The St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture said that at the peak of his career McKuen was "the unofficial poet laureate of America," the New York Times said.

His work has also included English-language adaptation of songs by Jacques Brel, including his adaptation of Brel's song "Le Moribond" for the English-language version of "Seasons in the Sun."