The seven-time Grammy winner has died in a Los Angeles hospital, just days after announcing his retirement from music. He was best known to a wider audience for performing the theme to the 1980s US series "Moonlighting."
Jarreau died in the presence of a few of his family and friends, at about 5:30 a.m. local time (1330 UTC) on Sunday, a statement issued by his manager, Joe Gordon, said.
Just five days earlier, he was admitted to hospital for exhaustion, having announced his retirement and cancelling upcoming concert dates.
US media said Jarreau had been troubled by respiratory and cardiac issues in recent years.
Gordon told "Ebony" magazine's website that a small private service will be held for the 76-year-old jazz legend.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Jarreau's singing style helped to make him one of jazz's greatest vocalists.
He won seven Grammies, his first coming in 1977 for his live album "Look to the Rainbow."
He toured almost continually and produced more than 20 albums, whose hits dominated the R&B charts. Several songs, including "We're in This Love Together," "Your Precious Love," and "Trouble in Paradise," performed well in the mainstream US charts and abroad.
Perhaps his most commercially successful song was the theme to the 1980s American TV show "Moonlighting," which starred Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepherd.
Jarreau was taken ill in July 2010 while touring in France, forcing him to cancel several gigs. He made a full recovery and continued performing live until his recent exhaustion.
mm/jlw (AP, dpa)