Attenborough was one of Britain’s leading actors, before becoming a highly successful director, BBC reported.
In a career that spanned over six decades, he appeared in films including “Brighton Rock”, “The Great Escape” and later in the dinosaur blockbuster “Jurassic Park”.
As a director he was best known for “Gandhi”, which won him two Oscars.
Sir Ben Kingsley, who played the title role, said he would “miss him dearly”.
“Richard Attenborough trusted me with the crucial and central task of bringing to life a dream it took him 20 years to bring to fruition.”
“When he gave me the part of Gandhi it was with great grace and joy. He placed in me an absolute trust and in turn I placed an absolute trust in him and grew to love him,” Kingsley said.
Attenborough had been in a nursing home with his wife for a number of years.
He had also been in a wheelchair since falling down stairs six years ago.
His son Michael said that Attenborough died at lunchtime Sunday.
Paying tribute, Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: “His acting in ‘Brighton Rock’ was brilliant, his directing of ‘Gandhi’ was stunning – Richard Attenborough was one of the greats of cinema.”
Actress Mia Farrow tweeted: “Richard Attenborough was the kindest man I have ever had the privilege of working with. A Prince. RIP ‘Pa’ – and thank you.”
Attenborough was also a life president of Chelsea Football Club, which said it was “deeply saddened” to learn of his death.
“He led a long and successful life and always found time for the things in life he loved most, one of which was Chelsea FC,” the club said.