Jimmy Breslin, the iconic and Pulitizer Prize-winning columnist who mesmerized New Yorkers with simple but stirring prose for almost half a century, died Sunday at his Manhattan home.

Breslin had been ill with pneumonia, and his death was confirmed by his wife, Ronnie Eldridge, The New York Times reported.

Breslin was working for the city's tabloid Daily News when he won a Pulitzer in 1986 for commentary.

"As a columnist, he found human angles that went straight to the heart of the story," the Pulitzer committee said.

He also authored several books, including The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight, a humor-filled account of a Brooklyn mob, and Damon Runyon: A Life a profile of a fabled columnist who preceded him. His own memoir was entitled I Want to Thank My Brain for Remembering Me.

"The sidewalks of NY have lost a great one, Jimmy Breslin. Long before 9/11, Jimmy was showing how great average New Yorkers are," Sen Charles Schumer tweeted.

Breslin was born in Queens and attended Long Island University. He began is journalism career in the 1050s, but didn't spare his profession from the biting commentary that often graced his columns.

"Media — the plural of mediocrity," was among his sayings. Another: "Newspapers are so boring. How can you read a newspaper that starts with a 51-word lead sentence?"

Contributing: Associated Press