The cause of his death has not yet been released, but Reed underwent a liver transplant in May.
Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1942, Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed was known for his distinctive deadpan voice and poetic lyrics.
He also wrote extensively about his experiences in the Rock n Roll culture, including speaking about his sexuality and drug use.
He achieved great success as a solo artist and as the leader and founding member of the Velvet Underground in the 1960s, with hits such as "Heroin," "Sister Ray," "Sweet Jane," "Rock and Roll," "Venus in Furs," "All Tomorrow's Parties," "What Goes On," and "Lisa Says".
He left the group in August 1970, just before the release of one of their most famous creations, Loaded.
In December 1972, Reed released his second solo album, Transformer, which was co-produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson. It introduced Reed to a wider popular audience, particularly in the UK , and to his hit single, "Walk on the Wild Side".
He married performance artist and musician Laurie Anderson in 2008.