The author, best known for The Prince of Tides, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on Friday in Beaufort, South Carolina.
"The water is wide and he has now passed over," wife Cassandra said in a statement to Variety.
Conroy announced his diagnosis in February with a Facebook post writing, "I have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. With the help of the wonderful people at M.D. Anderson [Cancer Center], I intend to fight it hard. I am grateful to all my beloved readers, my friends and my family for their prayers. I owe you a novel and intend to deliver it."
Two of the late author's works were adapted into Oscar-nominated films. Nick Nolte and Barbra Streisand starred in the 1986 film The Prince of Tides, and Robert Duvall was the lead actor in 1979's The Great Santini.
Conroy is survived by his wife Cassandra, two daughters, two sisters, three brothers and seven grandchildren.