Whitfield’s Absolutely Fabulous costar Joanna Lumley has led the tributes to the actress.
“I am heartbroken to lose such a darling friend and shall never forget her sensational talent, humour and her generosity to us all who had the joy of working with her on Ab Fab.
“She will always have a most special place in my heart.”
The London-born actress appeared on TV and radio for six decades and starred in more than 1300 radio and TV shows.
Shane Allen, controller of BBC Comedy, described Whitfield as "the North Star of British comedy".
"Her spectacular career is unparalleled in its longevity, with seven decades of being a key element in numerous high profile and successful shows. She was the go-to female comedy performer of her generation and was always in demand from the cream of British comedy."