Born in Chicago, was the United States' first and only world chess champion, and is still seen by many as the greatest natural talent the game has ever known.
His world title match with the Soviet Union's Boris Spassky in Reykjavik in 1972 became an emblem of the Cold War confrontation between the superpowers. Fischer won convincingly with 12-1/2 points to 8-1/2.
Failed to defend his crown in Manila in 1975, and the world chess authorities awarded it to his challenger, Russian Anatoly Karpov.
Fell foul of US authorities by playing a re-match against Spassky in Yugoslavia in 1992, at a time when it was subject to economic sanctions.
Vanished after the match, only resurfacing after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. In an interview with a Philippine radio station, he praised the strikes and said he wanted to see America "wiped out".
Was granted Icelandic citizenship in 2005 after spending eight months in detention in Japan fighting a U.S. extradition request.