The midfielder, born in Rotherham, played 222 games for the Reds and netted 27 goals over a five-year period.
He started his professional career at 23 when he signed for Huddersfield Town, making 59 appearances before signing for Barnsley in 1965.
Reds boss Johnny Steele paid £4,000 for the wing-half before his debut the following day against Watford.
A statement posted on the club website said: “An incisive passer of the ball, busy and inventive, he was a key player in midfield as the Reds earned promotion from Division Four in 1968.
“Barnsley FC have been in contact with the family of John and have passed on our condolences at this difficult time.”