The singer and composer was known best as a pioneer of the bossa nova genre, which found international popularity in the 1960s.
Reports say Gilberto died at home in Rio de Janeiro after a period of illness. His son confirmed the news of his death in a Saturday Facebook post.
Born in the north-east state of Bahia in 1931, Gilberto began singing aged 18.
João Gilberto introduced bossa nova to the world in 1958: he created a new beat, with his unique guitar style, mixing traditional samba music with modern jazz influences.
His music depicted a period of huge optimism in Brazil: an urban, industrialised country that was building a new capital and dreaming of better
His versions of songs like Quiet Nights and The Girl from Ipanema became standards in world music.