The PBA said Carter died Thursday night at his home in Miami. He had recently been hospitalized with pneumonia complicated by emphysema.
Carter was voted bowling's player of the year in 1953, '54, '57, '58, '60 and '62, and Bowling Magazine named him the Greatest Bowler of All-Time in a 1970 poll.
He was a founding member of the PBA in 1958 and he won seven tournaments -- five majors -- on the tour, including the first PBA National Championship in 1960.
"It is impossible to put into words what Don Carter meant to the PBA and sport of bowling," PBA Commissioner Tom Clark said in a statement. "There is no way to fill the void left by his passing. Our deepest sympathies to his wife Paula and his family. He was a pioneer, a champion and will never be forgotten."
Carter retired from bowling in 1972 because of knee problems, two years after he was inducted in the American Bowling Congress Hall of Fame. He was voted in to the PBA Hall of Fame in 1975.