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The 53-year-old singer, who formed one third of one of the most successful pop bands of all time, was admitted to Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami, Florida three days ago after complaining of stomach pains.
It is understood he suffered a heart attack before the operation and, although he briefly regained consciousness following the procedure, was not strong enough to pull through.
His second wife, Yvonne, 51, and his children, Adam, 26, and Samantha, 25, were at his bedside.
'Love and enthusiasm'
A family spokesperson, speaking outside the hospital, said: "It is with great sadness and sorrow that we regretfully announce the passing of Maurice Gibb this morning.
"His love and enthusiasm and energy for life remain an inspiration to all of us. We will all deeply miss him."
Maurice Gibb and his twin brother Robin were born in Douglas, on the Isle of Man on 22 December 1949 to Hughie and Barbara Gibb.
In 1958, the family emigrated to Australia. Maurice, Robin and their older brother Barry formed the Bee Gees in 1963 and released their first hit Spicks and Specks soon afterwards.
During a career that spanned four decades the group sold more than 110 million albums. Maurice helped write and perform 19 British top ten hits, including five number ones and more than 50 hits worldwide which included Staying Alive, How Deep is Your Love and Jive Talkin'.
They were also behind the bestselling soundtrack to the 1970s film, Saturday Night Fever.
But with success also came tragedy.
Maurice Gibb embraced the rock and roll life-style and by the age of 21 owned six Rolls Royces and eight Aston Martins, but he became increasingly dependent on alcohol.
In 1969 he married the pop singer Lulu but the marriage fell apart after just four years as the rock and roll lifestyle took hold and Maurice's heavy drinking became out of control.
In 1988, the youngest member of the Gibb family, Andy, died from a heart-attack brought on by alcohol and cocaine abuse.
Following this morning's announcement of Maurice's death, tributes have been pouring in.
His ex-wife Lulu said: "Obviously I am deeply shocked and upset."
DJ Paul Gambaccini said: "Maurice was the talented multi-instrumentalist, I mean here is a guy who played keyboards, guitar, bass and percussion."
Spokesperson for Robin Gibb, who flew out to the US from his Oxfordshire home to be at his brother's bedside said: "Everyone was just believing that Maurice was coming round and we woke up to this awful news. There is just complete and utter shock. This is an unbelievable blow."
The Bee Gees last album, This is Where I Came In, was released in 2001. At the time of his death Maurice was working on a new material with his brother Barry and singer Michael Jackson.
In 2002 all the Gibb brother were awarded the CBE.
Within 24 hours of his death Maurice Gibb's brothers were accusing the hospital where he died of "making mistakes".
An autopsy report the following week however revealed that the singer had died from a congenital condition, ischemic enteropathy, which caused his bowel and small intestine to twist so much that the blood supply to the rest of his body was cut off.
About 200 mourners, including Michael Jackson, attended a private funeral service at the Riverside Funeral Chapel in Miami.
The week after Maurice's funeral Robin and Barry Gibb announced they would not go on stage as the Bee Gees again but would continue their musical careers.
In May 2004 Barry and Robin Gibb collected their CBEs from Buckingham Palace. They were accompanied by Maurice's son Adam who collected his father's award on his behalf.
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