British fashion photographer David Hamilton, 83, was found dead in his Parisian home on Friday, emergency services sources said Friday.
Hamilton, known for his widely published nude images of underage girls, hit the headlines recently after former child models said he had raped them.
An informed source said he had died of heart failure and that medication was found near the body.
Hamilton, whose books of often suggestive pictures of young girls have sold millions of copies, this week threatened to sue his accusers, saying he had previously been cleared of abuse.
The artist, whose work has long raised questions about where art ends and pornography begins, was at the centre of a raft of allegations after a French radio presenter accused him of raping her when she was 13.
Flavie Flament published an autobiographical novel last month in which she told of being raped by a famous photographer during a shoot.
Although she did not name Hamilton in "The Consolation", she used his photograph of her as the book's cover.
Flament, 42, later told French media that Hamilton had raped her after three other women contacted her with near identical allegations.
Hamilton confirmed Flament had been his model, but denied the allegations, telling AFP on Tuesday: "I have done nothing improper."
Flament's editor Karina Hocine told AFP Friday the radio presenter was "devastated" by the news of Hamilton's death.
"Naturally, we feel horrified and, at the same time, really disgusted that there was not enough time for justice to run its course," she added.