Altman's massive body of work ranged from "M*A*S*H" to "Gosford Park" and he was nominated for seven Academy Awards -- five in the Best Director category -- but never won until accepting a Lifetime Achievement Oscar this year.
In his acceptance speech for the award he revealed to the world that he had had a heart transplant some 10 years earlier from a woman several decades younger.
"I didn't make a big secret out of it, but I thought nobody would hire me again. You know, there's such a stigma about heart transplants, and there's a lot of us out there," he said at the time.
His production company -- Sandcastle 5 Productions Company -- confirmed that Altman died Monday night. The cause of death has not been made public.
Altman directed 86 films and wrote the scripts for 37 of them.
Texas principal bans speaking Spanish, stirs controversy
Toddler uninjured after being knocked over by Obama family dog