The 93-year-old died in his sleep at around 3:00 am (0000 GMT), Rafi Walden, who is also Peres’s son-in-law, told AFP.
He had been surrounded by family members, a source close to Peres told AFP. A press conference was planned for later in the morning.
US President Barack Obama immediately hailed Peres as a friend who “never gave up on the possibility of peace.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his “profound sadness” and opposition leader Isaac Herzog, the head of Labour, Peres’s longtime party, said he will be “forever remembered as an icon of Israel’s history.”
Peres held nearly every major office in the country, serving twice as prime minister and also as president, a mostly ceremonial role, from 2007 to 2014.
He won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for his role in negotiating the Oslo Accords, which envisioned an independent Palestinian state.
The former hawk turned dove was widely respected both in Israel and abroad. -AFP