Stern, who was at the head of the National Basketball Association for 30 years until 2014, died after suffering a brain haemorrhage on 12 December.
He was the longest-serving commissioner of the NBA and presided over it during its growth into an international brand.
He died on New Year's Day, surrounded by his family, the league said. He was 77.
Stern had already been involved with the NBA for nearly 20 years before he became its first commissioner in February 1984. By the time he left it was one of the world's most famous leagues and its basketball games were broadcast in more than 200 countries and 40 languages.
His changes to the league included the introduction of drug testing and a dress code. Some of those alterations to the rules were controversial, and Stern faced criticism over rules that banned clothes such as baseball caps and the introduction of a new kind of ball.
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Current NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced Stern's death in a statement that said his death was the result of the brain haemorrhage he suffered nearly three weeks ago, and had been receiving treatment for since.
"For 22 years, I had a courtside seat to watch David in action," Silver said. "He was a mentor and one of my dearest friends.
"We spent countless hours in the office, at arenas and on planes wherever the game would take us. Like every NBA legend, David had extraordinary talents, but with him it was always about the fundamentals – preparation, attention to detail, and hard work."