"Despite every effort using the best science available", the three nations in charge of the operation, Malaysia, Australia and China, said in a joint statement, "unfortunately, the search has not been able to locate the aircraft".
The plane, and its 239 passengers, disappeared leaving few traces.
Next-of-kin association Voice370 said it was "dismayed" with the suspension and called on authorities to extend the hunt, which has cost upwards of Aus$180 million (US$135 million).
The transport bureau in December 2016 had announced that a data review of the estimates of the plane strongly suggested that the plane had hit the waters directly north of the search zone.
The Australian, Chinese and Malaysian governments decided previous year that once the designated 120,000 square kilometre (46,000 square miles) search zone - four times the size of Belgium - was fully scoured, the plug on the operation would be pulled unless promising new leads emerged. Fatt told the Associated Press he was disappointed the search was suspended but refuses to believe his wife is gone.
There have been few clues to the aircraft's whereabouts over the last three years.
On July 29 a year ago, a piece of aircraft debris was found washed ashore on the French island, east of Madagascar.
But the governments organizing and funding the search decided that information wasn't specific enough to justify expanding the search zone, NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports.
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They also explained that today's announcement is significant for all three countries, but more importantly for the family and friends of those on board the aircraft.
Debris from the plane, determined to be a flaperon, was first found on the island of Réunion in July 2015.
The ministers said: "The decision to suspend the underwater search has not been taken lightly nor without sadness".
Tony Abbott, Australia's prime minister at the time of the disappearance, called it "as close to nowhere as it's possible to be".
Several pieces of aircraft wreckage have washed up on beaches in Africa and been positively identified as coming from MH370 but they shed little light on the mystery. Gibson has accused officials of being slow to respond to his discoveries.
"There is still no evidence to confirm that Captain Zaharie deliberately flew the plane into the Indian Ocean", he said in August.
The information spawned speculation that the plane had been hijacked or rerouted, but little supporting evidence could be produced and conspiracy theories abounded. There were 239 people on board and the loss was not easily accepted, particularly from family members. "How can they allow something like this to happen and just leave it unresolved?" said Grace Subathirai Nathan, a daughter of a MH370 victim.