World Cup winner Paolo Rossi dies aged 64
The news was announced on Thursday by Italian TV channel RAI Sport, for whom Rossi had been working as a pundit.
"Such terribly sad news: Paolo Rossi has left us," RAI Sport presenter Enrico Varriale said.
"Unforgettable Pablito, who made all of us fall in love in that summer of 1982 and who was a precious and competent work colleague in RAI over recent years," Varriale said.
The cause of death was not disclosed though daily sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported the footballer had died of an "incurable illness."
His wife, Federica Cappelletti, posted a picture of herself with the football great reading "forever" in the early hours of Thursday.
On Facebook she wrote: "There will never again be anyone like you, as unique, as special, after you it will be complete void." The message ended with a heart emoji.
Rossi played for Juventus, Como, Vicenza, Perugia, Milan and Hellas Verona during his career but it was as Italy's hero at Espana 82 that he wrote his name in the history books.
The striker was part of the wonderteam that in 1982 defeated Zico's Brazil, a young Diego Maradona's Argentina and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge's Germany to lift the World Cup trophy in Spain.
With his six goals in the last three matches at that World Cup, Rossi led Italy to their third world championship title and became the tournament's top scorer.
These exploits led to him winning the 1982 Ballon d'Or as European player of the year.
The performance came just two months after the end of a two-year ban for a match-fixing scandal in Italy during the 1979-80 season.
He scored 20 goals in 48 caps for the Azzurri.