Turner was one of the company's first employees, hired by founder Ray Kroc in 1956, The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.
He became president and chief administrator in 1968 and took over the CEO position in 1974.
In 1977, he was elected chairman and CEO, positions he held for 10 years.
In 1990, he was given the position of senior chairman, a job he kept until 2004, when he was named honorary chairman.
While CEO, McDonald's tripled the number of franchises. He was also credited with designing the company's mission of "quality, service, and cleanliness."
Turner is also credited with writing McDonald's first Operations and Training Manual in 1958, which still serves as the template for the company's current operations and policies.
He also started the company's training centers called Hamburger University.
He started these in 1961 and there are now seven with the one at company headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., named after Turner.
"Fred was a true pioneer and shaped the quick service restaurant industry. We will remember his leadership, passion and dedication to McDonald's, our customers and our people," said Andy McKenna, McDonald's current chairman.
Turner was a native of Des Moines, Iowa, where he endowed a jazz studies teaching position at Drake University. With his wife, he also founded the Fred and Patty Turner Jazz Center at the university.
He is survived by three daughters and eight grandchildren, the newspaper said.