She was surrounded by her family, a statement released by the family said.
Richards became nationally famous in 1988 when as Texas treasurer she told the Democratic National Convention that Vice President George H.W. Bush was "born with a silver foot in his mouth."
Bush went on to win the presidency.
Richards was elected to the governorship 1990, and inaugurated in 1991. Among the accomplishments cited by her family: Texas led the nation for three years in increases in manufacturing jobs and corporate locations during her tenure.
But she was defeated for re-election in 1994 by George W. Bush, the son of her old political adversary, who himself went on to win the presidency in 2000.
The family statement said she is survived by her four children and their spouses, and eight grandchildren.
The family also requested that any memorial gifts be sent to the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders through the Austin Community Foundation.