"It is with deep sadness we inform you that Wes Craven passed," the family said in a statement, noting that Craven had been battling brain cancer.
"Craven was surrounded by love, in the presence of his family at his Los Angeles home."
Craven directed 1984's "A Nightmare on Elm Street," whose terrifying villain Freddy Krueger was reprised in several sequels and a 2010 remake.
Krueger, who wore a scruffy fedora and had a glove with razor blades attached to the fingers, would visit his victims in their dreams and slash them to death. The first film in the franchise included a character played by a then-unknown Johnny Depp.
"He made nightmares seem real, the things that scare you in your subconscious can harm you, get to you," said Richard Potter, a movie writer and producer who worked with Craven on the "Scream" franchise.
Craven also directed several episodes of "The Twilight Zone" revival in the 1980s and during the 1990s he made three films in the "Scream" series, with a fourth in 2011.
The first film featured Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette and Drew Barrymore, and told the story of a US high school targeted by a cloaked killer called Ghostface who wears a ghoulish mask based on "The Scream" painting by Edvard Munch.
"Today the world lost a great man, my friend and mentor, Wes Craven. My heart goes out to his family," Cox wrote on Twitter.
Other tributes began pouring in after news of Craven's passing. See them below.
Wes. Such a sweet, special man. So many memories...— Kevin Williamson (@kevwilliamson) August 31, 2015
Damn guys. @WesCraven died. A brilliant filmmaker, he brought quality & depth of character to every movie he made. Amazing library- bravo— Seth Green (@SethGreen) August 31, 2015
So we have lost the movie maker, Wes Craven. Sorry to hear it. Thanks to Jason G. and others who brought the... http://t.co/BMkVBvfxVE— Anne Rice (@AnneRiceAuthor) August 31, 2015
Today the world lost a great man, my friend and mentor, Wes Craven. My heart goes out to his family. x— Courteney Cox (@CourteneyCox) August 31, 2015
(File photo: Getty Images)
Nothing tops the trolley dashes!Darren, Keri and Sky an hour ago
Not sure how to answer that one...Vic Naidoo 2 hours ago