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 US extradition request.