Colson, who was also an evangelical leader, author and non-profit founder, died at a hospital in Northern Virginia, three weeks after brain surgery. CBS said the surgery was to ease a large pool of blood in his brain.
Special counsel to President Richard Nixon, Colson was involved in the Watergate scandal which led to Nixon's resignation. Known as Nixon's "hatchet man," Colson also served on the president's re-election committee, CBS said, attempted to steal information from the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate.
After pleading guilty to obstruction of justice, Colson served seven months of a one-to-three year prison sentence.
But Colson became a born-again Christian before being sentenced, and after he was released, he founded the Prison Fellowship. The non-profit organization conducts outreach to prisoners to "through the power and truth of Jesus Christ," CBS said.
Jim Liske, chief executive officer of Prison Fellowship, told CBS Colson met with top elected officials and leaders but "would rather be in prison embracing an inmate."
The former prisoner wrote more than 30 books on religion and faith, and consistently advocated on behalf of conservative policies. President George W. Bush gave Colson the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2008.
CBS said Colson is survived by his wife Patty, three children and five grandchildren.