The Bengals Web site reports Ross died Tuesday night at his home in New Hampshire. The Boston Herald said he died at Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill, Mass.
Bengals President Mike Brown released a statement that read: "Dan was a special person. He was held in high regard by everyone around here. It is stunning news that he is gone so prematurely."
Ross's record of 68 catches in a season hasn't been broken at his alma matter, Northeastern University in Boston, where his jersey is retired.
He was a member of College Football Hall of Fame class of 2004.
The Bengals picked Ross in the second round of the 1979 NFL Draft.
Ross set a record for the team in 1981 with 71 catches and also gained 910 yards and five touchdowns.
His 263 career catches is No. 13 on the Bengals' all-time reception list.
Ross was selected to the 1983 Pro Bowl and set a record with 11 receptions in the Super Bowl XVI.