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The entertainer, born in Bootle, Merseyside, was best known for presenting a number of hit gameshows including Crosswits and Name That Tune.
O'Connor died on Sunday morning, his family confirmed via his agent.
O'Connor's comedy career started out in working men's clubs, however he broke into television on shows including The Comedians and Opportunity Knocks.
He then went on to establish himself as a household name through the 70s and 80s including in Pick Pockets and The Zodiac Game.
O'Connor hosted Name That Tune from 1976 until 1983.
Later in his career O'Connor continued to appear on television, starring in BBC soap Doctors in the early 2000s and the celebrity edition of Come Dine With Me in 2010.
In 2011 he also appeared on the Pointless Celebrities quiz show with his daughter-in-law Denise Lewis, who is a former Olympic athlete.
Liverpool City Council paid tribute to O'Connor in a post on its official Twitter page.
"Sad news breaking about the death of veteran Liverpool comedian Tom O'Connor," it said.
"Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Thanks for the laughs, Tom."
TV presenter Piers Morgan also paid tribute to O'Connor.
"RIP Tom O'Connor, 81. Comedian, TV game show host, Liverpool legend & a very funny man," he tweeted.
"Sad news. Thanks for all the laughs, Tom."
BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker tweeted: "How sad. I had the pleasure of meeting Tom O'Connor and he was kind, funny and a true gent.
"I loved watching him on telly - Crosswits was great. My sympathies are with his family and friends."