The Uruguayan paid the price for a poor run of results that has left the Black Cats fourth from bottom after Saturday’s 4-0 rout, the club’s sixth game without a win.
In a statement Sunderland, one point above the relegation zone, announced: “Sunderland AFC have parted company with head coach Gus Poyet this afternoon.”
Chairman Ellis Short added: “I would like to thank Gus for his endeavours during his time at the club, in particular last season’s ‘great escape’ and cup final appearance, which will live long in the memory of every Sunderland fan.
“Sadly, we have not made the progress that any of us had hoped for this season and we find ourselves battling, once again, at the wrong end of the table. We have therefore made the difficult decision that a change is needed.”
The north-east side said “an announcement will be made in due course” regarding his successor. With time running short, and a trip to West Ham on Saturday, the club are expected to act quickly.
Local press reports suggest former Rangers boss Dick Advocaat, currently in charge of Serbia’s national team, could be appointed on a temporary basis.
Poyet was in charge at the Stadium of Light for 17 months, having taken over from Paolo Di Canio.
The 47-year-old former Brighton manager’s fortunes had dipped sharply since he pulled off what he termed “a miracle” to keep Sunderland in the top flight last season, engineering four wins in a row to stave off relegation.
The game appeared to be up for the ex-Chelsea and Tottenham midfielder after Saturday’s match with angry fans confronting him close to his dug-out before the majority of the 46,000 crowd trudged away long before the final whistle.
Poyet becomes the sixth managerial departure of the current Premier League season, after Neil Warnock (Crystal Palace), Alan Irvine (West Bromwich Albion), Alan Pardew (Newcastle United), Harry Redknapp (Queens Park Rangers) and Paul Lambert (Aston Villa).