Pingping, who was 29 inches tall, was filming a television programme in Italy when he developed chest problems.
The Chinese-born man, who became a record-holder in March 2008, was taken to hospital in Rome for treatment but passed away on Saturday. It is understood he died of heart complications.
Guinness World Records editor-in-chief Craig Glenday, who measured Pingping in Inner Mongolia to confirm his status as the world’s smallest man, paid tribute to him.
He said: “From the moment I laid on eyes on him I knew he was someone special – he had such a cheeky smile and mischievous personality, you couldn’t help but be charmed by him.
“He brightened up the lives of everyone he met, and was an inspiration to anyone considered different or unusual.”
Pingping, who was born with a form of primordial dwarfism, had been accompanied by his brother-in-law on the trip to Europe to film records show Lo Show Dei Record. His successor will be announced at a later date, Guinness World Records said.
Source: Press Association