US actress Mary Tyler Moore has died aged 80, her publicist has confirmed.

Earlier, TMZ reported that the Emmy Award winning actress was in a grave condition at a Connecticut hospital.

In a statement her representative Mara Buxbaum said she died in the company of friends and her husband, Dr S Robert Levine.

"A groundbreaking actress, producer, and passionate advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Mary will be remembered as a fearless visionary who turned the world on with her smile," Buxbaum added.

Born on 29 December 1936 in Brooklyn, New York Moore was the oldest of three children.

She began her career in the 1950s appearing in TV commercials and as a background dancer, later winning her first television role as a secretary in 1959 in Richard Diamond, Private Detective.

She went onto play Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show and won two Emmys for her work. By 1970, she landed her own show, playing Mary Richards on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

She was also nominated for a best actress Oscar in 1980 for the film Ordinary People.

The TV star had suffered with diabetes, and in 2011 she underwent brain surgery in 2011 BBC News reported.

As news of her death was announced, fans and celebrities who have been inspired by the pioneering star, paid tribute to her on Twitter.