In a statement on behalf of the Tutu family, the Office of the Archbishop of South Africa said he died peacefully at the Oasis Frail Care Centre in Cape Town this morning.
Details of the cause of death have not been released.
He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the late 1990s and in recent years was hospitalised on several occasions to treat infections associated with his cancer treatment.
The Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist for racial justice and LGBT rights was an uncompromising foe of apartheid in South Africa, working tirelessly and peacefully for its downfall.
The buoyant, blunt-spoken clergyman used his pulpit as the first black bishop of Johannesburg and later Archbishop of Cape Town as well as frequent public demonstrations to galvanise public opinion against racial inequity both at home and globally.