Primas, who had been Camden City Council president, became Camden's mayor in 1981 and was re-elected twice.
Current Camden mayor Dana Redd ordered all municipal building flags to fly at half-staff.
In her statement, Mayor Redd said:
"I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former City of Camden Mayor and C.O.O. Randy Primas. His devotion to public service and commitment to Camden and her residents will surely be missed.
"As we come out of celebrating Black History month, we should all remember Mr. Primas for his fight for social justice and his achievement in becoming the first African-American elected mayor of Camden.
"With his passing, the City of Camden has suffered a great loss; but his legacy will truly live on. My deepest sympathy and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time."
When the state of New Jersey took over the troubled city's finances under Governor James McGreevey, Primas was named Chief Operating Officer.