Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf, recognized worldwide for his strange scenes, died at the age of 64 after a long battle with lung disease, according to information published Wednesday, September 20, by several media in the Netherlands citing the family of the ‘artist. “World famous photographer Erwin Olaf has died. His family announced the news,” reported Dutch public broadcasting organization NOS.

After suffering from emphysema in 1996, the photographer recently received a lung transplant. “He was getting better, but his condition suddenly deteriorated. Efforts to resuscitate him failed,” NOS reported, citing a person close to the family. Born in Amsterdam, an LGBTQ activist, he was knighted in the Netherlands on his 60th birthday as a reward for his work defending the rights of the homosexual community. Erwin Olaf, whose photos are striking for their provocative will, their strangeness or the solitude of the characters, was one of the most sought-after photographers in the world.

“Often described as cinematic, his art is always rich, beautiful, expansive and playful,” Time magazine wrote in 2013 about his “Berlin” exhibition. “Straddling the worlds of commercial photography, art photography and fashion photography, he often makes fun of each of them,” argued the magazine.