The much-loved television and film actress Mary Tyler Moore has died at the age of 80, according to a statement from her publicist.

The Emmy Award-winning star was best known in the United States for her TV roles in ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’ in the 1960s and her eponymous ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ in the 1970s. In 1980, she picked up an Oscar nomination for her memorable performance opposite Donald Sutherland in Ordinary People.

Moore is credited with having revolutionised the depiction of women on the small screen as the medium evolved, particularly on her own show which ran for seven seasons between 1970 and 1977 and was described by Time magazine as one of 17 shows that changed television. She played TV producer Mary Richards, a single woman jilted by her boyfriend who resurrects her career in a new town.

Mary Tyler MooreMary Tyler Moore, the American TV icon, has died at the age of 80

She had suffered with ill health for many years before her death, with TMZ reporting only a few days ago that she had been dependent on a respirator for more than a week in hospital in Connecticut.

Before that, she had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 33, and she underwent brain surgery to remove a benign tumour in 2011. Three years later, friends reported that she was additionally suffering from heart and kidney problems, and was almost blind.

Her publicist, Mara Buxbaum, said in a statement on Wednesday (January 25th): “Today, beloved icon, Mary Tyler Moore, passed away at the age of 80 in the company of friends and her loving husband of over 33 years, Dr. S. Robert Levine.”

Dick Van Dyke, her co-star of several years, helped lead the tributes, saying: “There are no words. She was THE BEST! We always said that we changed each other's lives for the better.”

Oprah Winfrey, who has always spoken of her great admiration for Moore, recalled when they met on her show back in 1997. Posting a throwback picture of that meeting on Twitter, Oprah said that she would love her heroine “forever”.

“Dear Mary, You already know how you majorly influenced my life and career,” she additionally posted on Instagram. “I respected and admired your business acumen, your passion and compassion for all life, and most importantly, the values espoused through your storytelling. Thank you for being a Light that shined so brightly, it let me see myself in you.”

More: Mary Tyler Moore earns Dick Van Dyke’s praise as star’s career recognised at Screen Actors Guild Awards [archive]