Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said Africa had been robbed of one of its greatest scholars.
Mazrui had been “towering” academic whose “intellectual contributions played a major role in shaping African scholarship”, he added.
He had been a professor at Binghamton University in New York at the time of his death.
His body will be flown to Kenya for burial, said Khelef Khalifa, chairman of Kenya’s Muslims for Human Rights group.
“His nephew, Alamin Mazrui, has confirmed that the professor’s wish was to be buried in Kenya,” he is quoted by the local Daily Nation newspaper as saying.
Mazrui was a leading pan-Africanist whose academic research focused on African politics, north-south relations and political Islam.
He had authored numerous books, including “The Africans: A Triple Heritage” and “Christianity and Islam in Africa’s Political Experience: Piety, Passion and Power”.
“The Africans: A Triple Heritage” was jointly produced by the BBC and the Public Broadcasting Service (WETA, Washington) in association with the Nigerian Television Authority in 1986.
It was funded by the Annenberg/CPB Project.
In 2005, the US journal Foreign Policy and British journal Prospect listed him as among the world’s top 100 public intellectuals.
Mazrui is survived by his wife and six children.