He died early Saturday at his home in Palm Desert, Calif., His stepdaughter Stephanie Steele Zalin said.
She attributed his death to his age and said he was fine until very recently.
“He had one of the most amazing and fun blasts of a lifetime of anyone I know. He enjoyed every minute of it, ”she said.
“I don’t even think that in his wildest dreams he dreamed of the life he ended up having and creating. “
She called him the “best, sweetest, purest guy.”
Ed Asner, who worked alongside MacLeod on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, tweeted “My heart is broken. Gavin was my brother, my partner in crime (and food) and my comedic conspirator ”.
McLeod had originally auditioned for the series’ television boss, Lou Grant, the role that went to Asner.
But when he realized he wasn’t right to play the angry-tempered newsroom chief, MacLeod asked if he could audition for the wisecracking TV reporter instead.
The show was a hit from the start and remains a sitcom classic, ending after seven seasons and winning 29 Emmy Awards.
MacLeod then played the captain in The Love Boat, a romantic comedy in which guest stars ranging from Gene Kelly to Janet Jackson came aboard for a cruise in the hopes of finding love.
“The critics hated it. They called it mindless television, but we became goodwill ambassadors, ”he told the Los Angeles Times in 2013.
The show ran from 1977 to 1987.
Among his last TV credits were Touched by An Angel, JAG and The King of Queens.
MacLeod had four children with his first wife, Joan Rootvik, from whom he divorced in the early 1970s.
He was the son of an alcoholic, and his own drinking problems led to a second divorce -om actor-dancer Patti Steele.
After MacLeod quit drinking, he and Steele remarried in 1985.
Raised a Catholic, he credited Steele for their common reborn faith. The couple hosted a Christian radio show called Back on Course: A Ministry for Marriages.
MacLeod also had three stepchildren, 10 grandchildren and a great grandchild, born in December.