Rando Bertoia was the last remaining person in Scotland to have escaped the sinking of the Arandora Star by a German U-Boat off the coast of Ireland in 1940.
His family said that the retired watchmaker, who lived in Gorbals, Glasgow, suffered a heart attack on Saturday at his home.
As a young man he had been put aboard the Arandora Star along with hundreds of Italians and Germans who had been living in Britain but were detained by the authorities on the outbreak of hostilities and were being exiled to Canada.
The tragedy of its sinking remained a forgotten part of history as it came early in the war and was a painful reminder of both the British Government's detention of civilians and the Italian state's aggression in Europe.
However, a memorial to the disaster, the Italian Cloister Garden, was opened in 2011 next to the refurbished St Andrew's Cathedral, in Glasgow, to finally give those who lost their lives a lasting tribute.
Sharing his memories of the sinking, said by some to have claimed 800 lives, Mr Bertoia said that being Scottish had saved him.
Speaking two years ago he said: "The Scottish consignment got orders to go up to the top deck, and the English - among them my cousin Luigi, from Newcastle - were sent downstairs.
"From the lifeboat I could see the Arandora Star going down.
"I could hear the gurgling of water coming from the funnels. It took only about 20 minutes for it to sink and I realised I was very lucky indeed.
"Later, when the roll-call was read out, I didn't hear my cousin's name and I broke down. I don't think any of those who were downstairs survived."
Mr Bertoia, who was born in Italy, spent the rest of the war in Australia before returning to Scotland.
He recalled the sinking when the Catholic Church in Glasgow erected the memorial at the behest of Italian-Scots who lost relatives in the disaster.
Ronnie Convery, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Glasgow and Secretary of the Coordinating Committee for Italian Scots Associations, said he first met Mr Bertoia when he was researching an article on the sinking.
Mr Convery said: "I expecting him to be full of aggression and thoughts of revenge for what had happened to him, but the opposite was true. He was utterly without any sense of injustice over what had happened to him.
"He always said that the war was responsible, and that these things happen in war. All his life he refused to entertain any thoughts of seeking reparations or an apology from the governments involved.
"He never wanted to look on his life through the ugly parenthesis of the war years.
"He was a very sweet and gentle man, proud of the friendship which exists between the Scots an Italian communities."