Ekman, born in 1939, was well-known for his many comedic characters, played both on stage and in films. For instance, he played Charles-Ingvar "Sickan" Jönsson in the first five Jönssonligan films, about a gang of goofy criminals, in the 1980s.
He also starred in several films about police detective Martin Beck in the early 1990s.
In the last years of his life he was active as a director at Stockholm's Royal Dramatic Theatre, Dramaten.
"Gösta Ekman has meant a lot to Swedish theatre, film and culture, and the message of his passing away is heavy to receive," Dramaten director Eirik Stubø wrote in a press release.
Ekman first became known to the Swedish public in the 1960s, when he performed on stage and in films with the comedic duo Hasse & Tage.