Shoemaker had been paralyzed from the neck down since a car accident in 1991.
The 4-foot-11 Hall of Famer had the second-highest number of victories in thoroughbred racing history with 8,883 trips to the winner's circle spanning 41 years. He rode in a record 40,350 races.
"The Shoe," as he was called, became the oldest jockey to win a Kentucky Derby in 1986 at age of 54. During that race, he guided the horse Ferdinand along a small opening on the rail in a ride considered one of the greatest ever, Voice of America said.
His last race was Feb. 3, 1990, where a crowd of 64,573 at the Santa Anita Racetrack saw him ride Patchy Groundfrog to a fourth place finish.
He is survived by his former wife and a daughter, Amanda.