Gregory's passing was announced on social media by his son Christian, who released a statement saying: "The family appreciates the outpouring of support and love, and respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very hard time".
By 1961, Gregory's comedy caught the attention of Hugh Hefner who hired him to perform at the Chicago Playboy Club.
The legendary comedian and activist died on Saturday night in Washington.
He preformed primarily in small black-owned clubs while working as a postal worker. Gregory was a hit at the club and soon found himself regularly performing for white nightclub audiences at a time when there were few African-American comics doing so. His Slim-Safe Bahamian Diet, a meal-replacement drink made from a powered mix, was a commercial success. He was also noted throughout the '60s and '70s for his role in the Civil Rights Movement, public support of the Equal Rights Amendment, activism against the Vietnam War, and unsuccessful write-in 1968 presidential candidacy. He wrote several books, including "Murder in Memphis", which analyzed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
Ava DuVernay shared a quote of Gregory's, and captioned it, "You taught us and loved us".
Christian Gregory took to Facebook on Thursday (August 17) to share the awful news with his father's fans, but assured them that he is making a speedy recovery. "Dick Gregory was committed to justice".
In addition to his wife, Gregory is survived by children Ayanna, Yohance, Stephanie, Miss, Christian, Michele, Pamela, Paula, Lynne and Gregory.