Among the books he penned are "The Andromeda Strain," "Jurassic Park," "Congo" and "Next," all of which have been adapted for television or as films.
Usmagazine.com said the Chicago-born author's family described his death as unexpected.
"While the world knew him as a great storyteller that challenged our preconceived notions about the world around us -- and entertained us all while doing so -- his wife Sherri, daughter Taylor, family and friends knew Michael Crichton as a devoted husband, loving father and generous friend who inspired each of us to strive to see the wonders of our world through new eyes," his family told "Entertainment Tonight." "He did this with a wry sense of humor that those who were privileged to know him personally will never forget."
"Michael Crichton was a modern-day Renaissance man," NBC Universal President and Chief Executive Officer Jerry Zucker said in a statement Wednesday. "He was a physician, writer, director, and producer -- few people have done so many things so well. As creator and producer of NBC's 'ER,' he helped change the face of televised drama, and his 'Jurassic Park' movies are enduring classics. Everywhere he turned, Michael made an indelible impact. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."