Influential Australian art critic, historian and writer Robert Hughes has died aged 74 in New York after a long illness, a statement from his family said Tuesday. Hughes, whom the New York Times once proclaimed the world's most famous art critic, died at the Calvary Hospital in the Bronx on Monday. "He had been very ill for some time," said a statement from his wife Doris Downes, who was with him when he died. "Robert Hughes, critic, historian, fisherman, has died in New York City. Farewell my dear old mate. Rest in peace," tweeted Malcolm Turnbull, an Australian politician who is married to Hughes' niece Lucy. Born in Sydney in 1938, Hughes studied arts and architecture at Sydney University at the same time as feminist Germaine Greer and fellow writer Clive James. He left Australia for Britain in the early 1960s, writing for publications such as The Times and The Observer before landing a position as art critic for Time magazine in 1970, where he made his name. He went on to write The Art of Australia, a comprehensive review of Australian painting from settlement to the 1960s, which is still considered an important work. Hughes further established himself with his 1980 "Shock of the New" television series and book, which has been widely hailed as the most readable and provocative account of the development of modern art ever written. In 1987 he published international best seller "The Fatal Shore", which examined the harsh life of convicts during the early European settlement of Australia. Hughes had one son, Danton, from his first marriage to Danne Emerson, but he committed suicide in Australia aged 34 in 2002.