Former Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson died in Johannesburg on Saturday, President Jacb Zuma said.
"Former Chief Justice Chaskalson passed away earlier today," he said in a statement.
"We wish the Chaskalson family strength during this difficult time. Our thoughts are with them."
He said Chaskalson's life embraced a "courageous" role in the fight against apartheid, and in transitioning and shaping constitutional democracy.
"As the first President of our Constitutional Court he leaves a special imprint on the building of a united, non-racial, non-sexist constitutional democracy," said Zuma.
"On behalf of all South Africans we reach out to his wife and family as we salute a life inseparable from South Africa's march to freedom. – Sapa.