Eminent litterateur and academician Nabaneeta Dev Sen died in her South Kolkata residence on Thursday evening after a protracted illness.
She was 81 and is survived by two daughters -- writer Antara and actress Nandana.
Winner of Sahitya Akademi award and Padma Shri, Dev Sen was suffering from cancer for a long time and her condition deteriorated during the past 10 days, family sources said.
A poet, a novelist, a columnist and writer of short stories and travelogues, Dev Sen was also known for her research on the Ramayana.
She worked as a teacher in the Oxford University and the Colorado College in the US. Dev Sen also taught Comparative Literature in Jadavpur University in Kolkata.
Born to poet-couple Narendranath Dev and Radharani Devi, in Kolkata on January 13, 1938, she graduated from the Presidency College in Kolkata.
Dev Sen married Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen in 1958. They got divorced in 1976.
Economist Abhijit Banerjee, who won the Nobel this year, had visited Dev Sen at her residence during his short stay in the city last month.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed grief over the death of Dev Sen.
'Saddened at the passing away of noted litterateur and academic Nabaneeta Dev Sen. A recipient of several awards, her absence will be felt by her myriad students and well-wishers. My condolences to her family and admirers,' she wrote on her Twitter handle.
The Presidency Alumni Association, of which Dev Sen was the president, said in a statement, 'We convey our deepest condolences at the sad demise of Nabaneeta Dev Sen, beloved President of Presidency Alumni Association. She was the first woman president of alumni association.'
Author Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay said, "I am shocked after hearing the news. I lost a great friend."