He died Wednesday morning on his way to a cardiology appointment with his son Darius, said his manager Russell Gloyd. Brubeck would have turned 92 on Thursday.
The Dave Brubeck Quartet's pieces such as "Take Five" caught listeners' ears with exotic, challenging rhythms and became enduring standards. In 1954, he was the first modern jazz musician to be pictured on the cover of Time magazine.
But Brubeck was drawn to music. He graduated in 1942 and was drafted by the Army, where he served - mostly as a musician - under Gen. George S. Patton in Europe. At the time, his Wolfpack Band was the only racially integrated unit in the military.
Brubeck and his wife, Iola, had five sons and a daughter. Four of his sons - Chris on trombone and electric bass, Dan on drums, Darius on keyboards and Matthew on cello - played with the London Symphony Orchestra in a birthday tribute to Brubeck in December 2000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.