Olympic gold medallist Dick Fosbury, who revolutionised the high jump with his 'Fosbury Flop' technique, has died at the age of 76.

Fosbury won a gold medal for the United States at the 1968 games in Mexico City using a novel back-first technique that is commonplace among high jumpers today.

By clearing 2.24 metres with the technique – which he began to experiment with in school – in the event's final, Fosbury set a then-Olympic and United States record.

Fosbury's agent Ray Schulte confirmed his death on Instagram on Monday, writing: "It is with a very heavy heart I have to release the news that longtime friend and client Dick Fosbury passed away peacefully in his sleep early Sunday morning after a short bout with a recurrence of lymphoma."

USA Track & Field, the nation's athletics governing body, called Fosbury "a true legend and innovator" on Twitter, adding: "Fosbury's legacy will live on for generations to come."

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach also paid tribute, saying: "Dick Fosbury wrote unforgettable Olympic history by revolutionising the high jump at the Olympic Games Mexico 1968.

"The games would never be the same again after he won the gold medal at those games, 'flopping' across the bar.

"Dick Fosbury was always true to the Olympic values and served the Olympic movement in a number of functions, including as president of the World Olympians Association.

"He will forever be remembered as an outstanding Olympic champion. Our thoughts are with his family and friends."