Ted Hanley died in the early hours of Tuesday aged 71 following a short illness, his son Jamie announced online.
The stalwart Labour member had continued to help local causes even after stepping down as a Bramley and Stanningley councillor of 12 years before local elections in 2015.
Jamie wrote: “Kind and generous, loyal, caring and loving - he was a wonderful husband, Dad, Grandpa and brother.
“We will miss him so much.
“Thank you to the staff at St James’s Hospital who looked after him in the past couple of days.
“God Bless Dad - my ‘old fella’, my friend and my hero. Thank you for being the best.
Coun Julie Heselwood, who took over Mr Hanley’s seat when he retired, said: “He was a fantastic councillor and I will never fill his shoes.
“It’s a real shock, what’s happened.”
She added: “He was involved in every aspect of community life in Bramley, so it’s such a loss.”
Mr Hanley was a supporter of Bramley Baths, Bramley Elderly Action, and took apprentices on at his plastering business, Aagaard Hanley Limited on Stanningley Road.
Leeds West parliamentary candidate Rachel Reeves said: “I am incredibly saddened by the death of Ted Hanley.
Ted was a fantastic councillor for Bramley and did so much work, particularly with Bramley Elderly Action. Most of all, Ted was a great friend, husband to Diane, father to Jamie and Paul and grandfather to Joseph and Jude. He will be hugely missed.
“My thoughts and prayers will be with Diane and all the family.”