Carson had suffered from poor health and his family said he passed away at his home in Blackpool, Lancashire.
The Belfast-born comic rose to fame in the 1960s after winning talent show Opportunity Knocks three times. The Comedians was among his TV shows.
TV presenter Eamonn Holmes said: "We will never ever see his like again."
Carson had a successful operation for stomach cancer last year but had told the BBC his health had been a problem for some time.
His family's statement said the "husband, father, Gaga and comedian set off for his final gig today".BBC © 2012
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