Gibb, who joined with his older brother and his twin to harmonize their way to becoming one of the best selling musical groups ever, suffered cardiac arrest before undergoing emergency surgery for a blocked intestine. He was admitted to Mount Sinai Medical Center Wednesday and underwent surgery Thursday.
"To our extended family friends and fans, with great sadness and sorrow we regretfully announce the passing of Maurice Gibb this morning," Gibb's family said in a statement. "His love, enthusiasm and energy for life remain an inspiration to all of us. We will all deeply miss him."
Gibb played bass and keyboard for the group, whose name is short for the Brothers Gibb.
In a 1978 interview with TG Magazine, Gibb lamented the perception that the Bee Gees were only a disco band.
"People accuse us of being nothing more than a disco band now," Gibb said. "But they don't know what they're talking about. If you listen to our records, you'll find that there's dance music. But there are also ballads like `More Than A Woman.' And there are some very beautiful, undanceable songs, too."
The Bee Gees — twins Maurice and Robin, and their older brother Barry — have lived in South Florida since the late 1970s. Their younger brother, Andy, who had a successful solo career, died in 1988 at age 30 from a heart ailment.
Chris Hutchins, a writer and former press agent for the Bee Gees, said Maurice was "very much a tormented soul."
"He was not the star (of the Bee Gees), and he knew it, he felt it," Hutchins told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.
Known for their close harmonies and original sound, the Bee Gees are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and their 1977 contributions to the "Saturday Night Fever" album made it the best selling movie soundtrack ever with more than 40 million copies sold.
Among their disco hits on that album are "Stayin' Alive," "More Than a Woman" and "How Deep Is Your Love," and "Night Fever."
The group won seven Grammy Awards. The Bee Gees last album was in 2001, entitled "This Is Where I Came In."
The family emigrated from England to Australia in 1958, and the brothers soon gained fame as a teen pop group.
They returned to England in the 1960s, and their first four albums contained hits such as "1941 New York Mining Disaster," "To Love Somebody," and their first U.S. number one song, 1971's "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart."
The Bee Gees followed "Saturday Night Fever" with the 1978 album "Spirits Having Flown" which sold 20 million copies.
The brothers wrote and produced songs for Barbara Streisand, Diana Ross and Dionne Warwick in the 1980s. They also wrote the Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton hit "Islands in the Stream."
The Bee Gees released three studio albums and went on a world tour in the 1990s. The live album from the tour "One Night Only," sold more than 1 million albums in the United States.
The Bee Gees run a music production company in Miami called Middle Ear Studios.
Gibb's first wife was British singer Lulu. He and his second wife, Yvonne, were married for more than 20 years and had two children.