His death was announced on social media Friday night by his daughter, MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski.
Brzezinski served as President Carter's national security advisor from 1977 to 1981 and continued to hold influence in foreign policy issues.
In May 1978, Brzezinski paid his first visit to China to lay the groundwork for the normalization of the relationship between China and the United States.
He credited Brzezinski's "unyielding stance toward the Soviet Union" with playing a central role in "the demise of the totalitarian communist system". Major foreign policy events during his tenure include the normalization of relations with China, along with the severing of ties with the Republic of China on Taiwan, the signing of the SALT II treaty, brokering of the Camp David Accords and Iran's transition from USA ally to to anti-Western Islamic Republic.
"We can't have an intelligent foreign policy unless we have an intelligent public, because we're a democracy", Brzezinski said. Born in Warsaw, Poland, on March 28, 1928, he was taken as a youngster to Canada where his father served as a diplomat.
Brzezinski received a doctorate from Harvard University in 1953 and became an American citizen in 1958.
Mr Carter had been impressed with the views of the foreign policy expert well before he won the presidency in 1980.
Carter had known Brzezinski before his election and asked him to leave Columbia University, where the effects of Soviet communism had been the focus of much of his work.
Becoming a US citizen in 1958, Brzezinski was active in the Council of Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group and later the Trilateral Commission, private groups of USA business executives, intellectuals and politicians who work to strengthen USA ties overseas through dialogue. He took part in the long-awaited reunification of Europe as a delegate to proceedings created to bring the former Soviet republics into the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
After President Carter lost to Ronald Regan in 1981, Mr Brzezinski turned to other things, including becoming a consultant on global affairs and a senior adviser for the Georgetown Center for Strategic and worldwide Studies in Washington. For the White House, the differences between Vance and Brzezinski became a major headache, confusing the American public about the administration's policy course and fueling a decline in confidence that Carter could keep his foreign policy team working in tandem.
He wrote frequent opinion articles for newspapers and published several books. Michelle and I send our condolences to his beloved wife Emilie, and his children Ian, Mark and Mika.