US singer Bob Dylan has been awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, the BBC reports.
The 75-year-old rock legend received the prize “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.
The balladeer, artist and occasional actor is the first songwriter to win the prestigious award.
Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman in 1941 and began his musical career in 1959, playing in coffee houses in Minnesota.
Much of his best-known work dates from the 1960s, when he became an informal historian of America’s troubles.
Songs like Blowin’ in the Wind and The Times They are A-Changin’ became anthems of the anti-war and civil rights movements.
His move away from traditional folk songwriting, paired with a controversial decision to “go electric” proved equally influential.
Dylan’s many albums include Highway 61 Revisited in 1965, Blonde on Blonde in 1966 and Blood on the Tracks in 1975.
Since the late 1980s he has toured persistently, an undertaking he has dubbed the “Never-Ending Tour”.
Dylan had long been tipped as a potential Nobel recipient, but few experts expected the academy to extend the prestigious award to a genre such as folk rock music.