Italian President Giorgio Napolitano called Pavarotti "one of the best-loved ambassadors for our country's musical tradition."
"Pavarotti entertained audiences with his perfect pitch and charismatic interpretations," said U.S. President George W. Bush, adding the vocalist was also a great humanitarian who used his "magnificent talent" to rally support for victims of tragedies around the globe.
Russia's Vladimir Putin declared Pavarotti's death "a great loss, not only for Italy but also for world culture as a whole."
He asked the Italian president to extend "the deepest condolences to Pavarotti's family on my behalf and that of millions of Russian citizens."
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Pavarotti "inspired many people to approach opera and appreciate it," while French President Nicolas Sarkozy called him "the best incarnation of the great popular tenor after Enrico Caruso" and Spanish Premier Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said he was "saddened" by his death.
"Pavarotti's golden voice will ring out as long as the Met exists," said Peter Gelb, general manager of New York's Metropolitan Opera.
Pavarotti died Thursday at his home. He had been being treated for pancreatic cancer.