Reports from Associated Press (AP) note that South whose real name was Joseph Souter died at his home in Buford, Georgia.
South wrote dozens of songs in the 1960s and 70s for several artists including Elvis Presley and Deep Purple.
His official site, joesouth.com, notes that he withdrew from music scene in early 1970s after his brother, Tommy Souter's suicide and turned a recluse, while continuing to write lyrics for songs.
Also a gifted guitarist, he played on Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools," and Bob Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde," album, according to BBC.
The late 60s song "Games People Play," won him two Grammys for Best Contemporary Song and Song of The Year. The song dwelt upon hate, hypocrisy and inhumanity, AP stated. (I Never Promised You) "A Rose Garden" penned by South for Lynn Anderson was nominated for Grammy.
South was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1979 and The Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2003.
The singer is survived by his son and granddaughter. A funeral is being held in Atlanta, Saturday, BBC added.
Tributes continue to pour in for the prolific songwriter both on Twitter and his website guestbook as thousands mourn his demise.
His other hits included "Down in the Boondocks" sung by Billy Joe Royal and "Hush" by Deep Purple. The famous song "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" was sung by Elvis Presley.