MEXICO CITY — Sergio Pitol, a celebrated Mexican author, essayist and translator and winner of the most prestigious award for literature in the Spanish-speaking world, died Thursday. He was 85.

Pitol died of natural causes at his home in Xalapa, Veracruz state, said Alberto Salamanca, a spokesman for the Mexican government’s Department of Culture.

Born March 18, 1933, in the city of Puebla, Pitol was known for works such as “Mephisto’s Waltz” and his “Trilogy of Memory,” which included “The Art of Flight,” “The Journey” and “The Magician of Vienna.”

He won Spanish literature’s prestigious Cervantes Prize in 2005. He was awarded Mexico’s National Literature Prize in 1983 and the Juan Rulfo Latin American and Caribbean Prize in 1999.

Known for his slow and deep speech and for dressing in elegant tailored suits, Pitol radiated vivacity and humor in his writing.

He translated works by English-language authors such as Jane Austen, Henry James and Joseph Conrad as well as Polish writers Kazimierz Brandys and Witold Gombrowicz, an exercise he considered vital to his craft. “I know no better instruction on structuring a novel than translation,” he wrote in a 2011 autobiography.