His body was found outside a barn at his farm in Lynchburg, Tennessee, the home of the whiskey brand. The cause of death was attributed to a heart attack.
Bedford worked for JD for more than 40 years before retiring in March last year.
He was well known in the UK spirits trade through his many ambassadorial visits to the UK on behalf of the brand.
He also appeared in a poster ad for the whiskey during his spell in the master distiller’s position.
Bedford joined the company in 1968 and worked in many parts of production before becoming master distiller in 1988.
His reign ended under a cloud after he was named in a sexual harassment lawsuit by a Texas woman, and was asked to retire. The case was later settled out of court.
Phil Lynch, spokesman for brand owner Brown-Forman, said: “He was a friend and colleague to so many of us. He was a major figure in the whiskey industry and will be missed."