According to state media, he passed away in Shanghai on Wednesday shortly after 12:00 local time (04:00 GMT).
Under his stewardship, a formidable economy was forged, the Communists tightened their grip on power, and China took its place at the top table of world powers.
He oversaw the peaceful handover of Hong Kong in 1997, and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001 which intertwined the country with the global economy.
But political reforms were also put to one side and he crushed internal dissent while pursuing a hardline stance on Taiwan. He was criticised for the heavy-handed crackdown on the religious sect Falun Gong in 1999, which was seen as a threat to the Communist Party.
Jiang’s successors as president, Hu Jintao – who was conspicuously removed from the CCP conference last month – and Xi Jinping, are scheduled to attend his funeral, according to a letter released by the state backed Global Times.
But the letter added that foreign leaders and governments will not be invited to the event. The funeral committee said the decision was in keeping with what it called “China’s practice”.