Gurley Brown, who is widely regarded as a legend in her field, died after a brief hospitalization at the McKeen Pavillion at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia. She was 90.
Gurley Brown took control of the US edition in 1965 with a view to encapsulating the spirit of free, independent women. The British edition was launched in 1972 and the title marked its 40th anniversary in Februrary this year.
Credited by Hearst as the woman who 'redefined womanhood', her impact on popular culture reached around the globe, first with her 1962 bestseller, 'Sex and the Single Girl', and then as editor of Cosmopolitan where for more than three decades, she put her own unique stamp on the title.
Frank A Bennack Jr, chief executive of Hearst Corporation, said: "Helen Gurley Brown was an icon. Her formula for honest and straightforward advice about relationships, career and beauty revolutionized the magazine industry.
"She lived every day of her life to the fullest and will always be remembered as the quintessential ‘Cosmo girl.’ She will be greatly missed."
David Carey, president of Hearst Magazines, said: "Helen was an inspiration, a true success story. Her energy, enthusiasm and true passion for women’s issues unleashed a platform for women worldwide.
"She brought the subject that every woman wanted to know about but nobody talked about, to life, literally, in Cosmo’s pages."
She once described her success as "not based so much on any great intelligence but on great common sense".
She was inducted into the US Publisher’s Hall of Fame in 1988, taking her place with other well-known publishers including Henry Luce, DeWitt Wallace, Harold Ross, and Norman Cousins.