Jack Nelson, a former Los Angeles Times Washington bureau chief and friend of Powell's, said Powell died at a hospital near his home in Cambridge, Md., The Washington Post reported.
A public relations specialist, Powell helped Carter, then governor of Georgia, formulate the strategy that carried him to the presidency in 1976. After his stint as press secretary, Powell became a founder of the Powell Tate public relations firm in Washington.
"Jody was beside me in every decision I made as a candidate, governor and president and I could always depend on his advice and counsel being candid and direct," Carter said in a statement.
Robert Gibbs, White House press secretary to President Barack Obama, said he was saddened to hear of Powell's death.
"As press secretary to President Carter, Jody served his country during a difficult time, and he always did the job with grace and good humor," Gibbs said in a statement. "When I needed advice at the start of my own tenure as press secretary, he was always generous with his time and wise in his counsel. I'll miss his support and encouragement, and I'll be keeping him and his family in my thoughts and prayers."
Powell is survived by his wife Nan Jared, a daughter, his mother, a sister and three grandchildren.