Wilkins spent five seasons with the Canucks, scoring the team's first goal on Oct. 9, 1970.
The Toronto native broke into the league with Boston during the 1966-'67 season, but played just eight games with the Bruins through three seasons.
Wilkins moved to Vancouver for the 1970-'71 season before being traded in 1974 to Pittsburgh for two seasons.
"We are saddened by the recent news and on behalf of the entire Vancouver Canucks organization, I would like to extend my sincere sympathies to Barry's family," Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said in a statement.
The five-foot-11, 190-pound blue-liner had 27 goals and 125 assists in 398 career NHL games.
He also spent one season with Edmonton in the WHA, and later retired in the AHL in '79.