Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in economics, died on Tuesday, after battling cancer. She was 78.

The distinguished Indiana University professor shared the 2009 Nobel Prize for economics with Oliver Williamson, from the University of California, Berkeley. They were honored for their groundbreaking research on the ways that people organize themselves to manage resources. She was the first and, to date, only woman to win the prize in this category.

Ostrom, who was diagnosed in 2011, lost her battle with cancer at IU Health Bloomington Hospital, where she was surrounded by friends and family, according to a statement from Indiana University.

The American political economist held chairs as senior research director of the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, distinguished professor and Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences and professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

As a result of her work, Ostrom is considered one of the leading scholars in the study of common pool resources. Her work is said to emphasize how humans interact with ecosystems to maintain long-term sustainable resource yields. Common pool resources include many forests, fisheries, oil fields, grazing lands and irrigation systems.

Indiana University has lost an irreplaceable and magnificent treasure with the passing of Elinor Ostrom, IU President Michael A. McRobbie said in a statement. Throughout her lifetime, Lin has brought distinction to the university through her groundbreaking work, which received the ultimate recognition in 2009 when she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.

In April, Elinor Ostrom was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World.

She is survived by her husband and colleague, Vincent Ostrom, as well as an extended family of colleagues, collaborators, staff and friends.