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Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday.
The 75-year-old music legend was cited by the Swedish Academy for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." He will receive a prize of $927,740.
Born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941, Dylan became a prolific songwriter and penned some of the most influential anti-war and civil rights anthems of the 1960s' counterculture. They include “Blowin’ in the Wind," "The Times They Are a-Changin" and “Subterranean Homesick Blues.”
He has also had an enormous impact on other artists of his generation and beyond, writing songs that would later be covered by music legends ranging from Jimi Hendrix to Adele.
Notoriously aloof and elusive, Dylan has repeatedly stepped in and out of the public eye for the last 50 years. But through it all his writing has endured, along with his title as "the voice of a generation," no matter how hard he's tried to shake it.
"He is probably the greatest living poet," Swedish Academy member Per Wastberg said.
The Associated Press reported that Dylan had been mentioned in the Nobel speculation for years, but few experts expected the academy to extend the prestigious award to a genre such as pop music.
Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Nobel Academy, told a news conference Thursday there was "great unity" in the panel's decision.
"Bob Dylan writes poetry for the ear," she added. "But it's perfectly fine to read his works as poetry."
At the academy's headquarters in Stockholm's Old Town, reporters and others gathered for the announcement cheered as Dylan's name was read out. He is the first American to win the top honor in literature since Toni Morrison in 1993, and one of only two people in the world to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize and an Oscar. (The other person is playwright George Bernard Shaw.)
The prize will be formally presented to Dylan and other winners on Dec. 10.
The 2015 winner was Svetlana Alexievich, a Belarusian writer who is one of only 14 women to have been selected for the honor.
Named after dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel, it has been awarded 1901 for achievements in science, literature and peace in accordance with his will.