Swedish publishing house Albert Bonniers Förlag confirmed his death on Friday afternoon in a press release.
"We have today, by the Tranströmer family, been given the sad task of announcing that Tomas Tranströmer passed away on Thursday, March 26th, 2015, after a short illness," the company said and added that the family asks for privacy.
Tranströmer, who was also a trained psychologist, is one of Sweden's most read and beloved poets. His most recent publication was 'Poems and Prose 1954-2004' ('Dikter och prosa 1954-2004'), which came out in 2011. That same year he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Peter Englund, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy (Svenska Akademien), which hands out the world's most prestigious literature prize, told The Local on Friday: "[We] have with grief and shock noted the news of Tomas Tranströmer's death. Nobody need doubt our great appreciation for his work and importance: we gave him the Nobel Prize."
"He was one of our foremost contemporary poets, who has won readers and admirers around the whole world. The part of Tomas Tranströmer that was mortal has gone. But that which was created by his genius lives on."
"Our thoughts go to his wife Monica and the children," he added.
Tranströmer, who suffered a stroke in 1990 which affected his ability to speak, explored in his writing the relationship between our intimate inner selves and the world around us.
"Most of Tranströmer's poetry collections are characterized by economy, concreteness and poignant metaphors. In his latest collections…Tranströmer has shifted towards an even smaller format and a higher degree of concentration," said the Nobel jury when it honoured him.
Tributes flooded in on social media on Friday, with many sharing excerpts of his poems.
— Ken Arneson (@kenarneson) March 27, 2015
The traffic thickens, crawls. It is a sluggish dragon glittering. I am one of the dragon's scales. Transtromer
— sven birkerts (@svenbirkerts) March 16, 2015
— Swedish MFA (@SweMFA) March 27, 2015
Tranströmer's reputation in the English-speaking world owes much to his friendship with American poet Robert Bly, who has translated much of the Swede's work into English, one of 60 languages in which his poems have appeared.
Born on April 15th, 1931, in Stockholm, Tranströmer was raised alone by his mother after his father left them. He graduated in psychology in 1956 and later worked in an institution for juvenile offenders.
His books of poetry include 'The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems' (2006), 'The Half-Finished Heaven' (2001), 'New Collected Poems' (1997), 'For the Living and the Dead' (1995), 'Baltics' (1975), and 'Windows and Stones' (1972).
He leaves behind his wife, Monica, and adult daughters Emma and Paula.