The terrorist known as 'the blind sheikh', who helped plot the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, has died in prison in North Carolina, aged 78.

Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was serving life in prison for his role in plotting 'a day of terror' on the US via a series of planned attacks on landmarks in New York City, suffered from diabetes and coronary artery disease, and died of natural causes.

Abdel-Rahman was also linked to the 1993 explosion in the World Trade Center.

He was not convicted for the bombing, but was believed to be linked to the six men who were convicted, and is said to have helped orchestrate the attack, which killed six people and left more than 1,000 injured.

Abdel-Rahman was convicted in 1996 of planning future bombings of New York City landmarks, including the FBI headquarters in New York and the Lincoln and Holland tunnels.

The Egyptian born cleric preached his radical message in New York, from his home in Brooklyn and in nearby New Jersey, building up a strong following – which he maintained up until his death.

Abdel-Rahman and his followers were planning to "levy a war of urban terrorism against the United States" in an attempt to change US foreign policy, an indictment said at the time of his trial, Reuters reported.

At his sentencing, Abdel-Rahman claimed: "I have not committed any crime except telling people about Islam."

He was handed a life sentence and spent the years prior to his death at the Federal Correctional Complex, Butner.

His son Ammar told the newswire he had been informed of his father's death by a US representative, who called the family in Egypt, where they live.