The 28 year-old posted a combined time of 2:06.52 over the downhill and slalom events to top the Olympic podium for the first time in his career.
Hirscher, who's previous Olympic best was a slalom silver medal in Sochi four years ago, trailed in the downhill half of the event with a 12th place finish as Germany's Thomas Dressen topped the standings with a fastest time of 1:19.24.
Best of 2020: 'At what point is it enough? - Shiffrin reflective after off-season like no other
Victor Muffat-Jeandet had the leading time for the majority of Hirscher's favoured slalom event from the fifth run until the Austrian champion dived over the line to best the Frenchman by one tenth of a second to snatch the gold medal he had been waiting a long time for.
"My downhill was the best I've ever skied. I have what I was searching for," Hirscher told Eurosport.
"It was not easy under the pressure and expectation, because I was not the favourite in this event, but I was very surprised after this amazing downhill event. My wait (for Olympic gold) is over now."
Hirscher will attempt to double his medal tally in the men's Super-G on Friday.
Pinturault, Hirscher et Muffat-Jeandet : le podium du combiné des JO 2018
Image credit: Getty Images
Like his talent, Hirscher's retirement transcends the sport he dominated