The Dutch actress - best known for her work in the erotic `Emmanuelle` movie series - has lost her battle with cancer at the age of 60.
Her agent confirmed: "She died during the night during her sleep."
Sylvia - who battled drug and alcohol addiction for several years - had suffered a stroke in July and was admitted to hospital.
Her agent declined to say whether the actress had died at home or in hospital.
A private funeral will take place at a later date.
Sylvia is survived by her 38-year-old son Arthur, from her marriage to Hugo Claus.
The twice-wed actress first rose to fame appearing in the first `Emmanuelle` film - the first erotic movie to be shown in mainstream cinemas - in 1974, in which she played a sexually-promiscuous housewife.
Although she went on to appear in several sequels and other films which required her to shed her clothes, such as `Lady Chatterley`s Lover`, she turned her back on on-screen nudity in the 1980s because her son, Arthur, was being "teased at school".
She returned to the `Emmanuelle` series in 1994, in a direct-to-video sequel where she appeared, fully-clothed, reminiscing about the exploits of her younger alter-ego.