His ex-Reds team-mate David Fairclough led the tributes, writing on Twitter: “So sad to hear my great friend and Liverpool legend David Johnson has passed away today.
“Shared so many great moments and memories with 'Jono'. Today is a very sad day. Condolences to all Dave's family. RIP 'Doc'.”
Everton confirmed the news by saying: "Everyone at Everton Football Club is saddened to learn of the untimely passing of David 'Doc' Johnson at the age of 71. Our thoughts are with David's family and friends at this time."
Johnson began his career at Goodison and scored in the Merseyside derby against Liverpool in 1971. He would go on to score for the Reds against Everton nine years later.
Johnson had a successful spell at Ipswich before moving to Liverpool in 1976 for a club record fee of £200,000. He went on to win three league titles at Anfield as well as a European Cup winners' medal in 1981.
But Ian Rush's emergence relegated Johnson to the bench the following season and he re-signed for Everton in August 1982.
Johnson later played for Barnsley, Manchester City, American side Tulsa Roughnecks, Preston and had a spell as player-manager at Barrow before retiring in 1986.
Another former Reds forward, John Aldridge, wrote: “Absolutely gutted to hear my good friend David Johnson (The Doc) passed away early today.
“What a great bloke and a greet servant to LFC on and off the pitch. RIP.. You'll never walk alone pal.”
Additional reporting by PA.