Sonn, 57, died in a Cape Town hospital due to complications after a colon operation earlier this month.
"Percy was never afraid to speak his mind," ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said in a statement. "His great skill, especially in meetings where discord was possible, was to do so in such a way that he got everyone together and pulling in the same direction."
Cricket South Africa (CSA) persident Ray Mali hailed Sonn's role in the racial reunification of South African cricket. Sonn headed the South African board for three years until 2003.
"Percy never saw problems, just challenges, and usually he rose to those challenges, never more so than when he helped resolve the problems that existed within the administration of Kenyan cricket in the early years of this decade," he said.
Australian skipper Ricky Ponting recalled last meeting Sonn when he handed over the World Cup trophy to his triumphant team in Barbados last month.
"I've been told of his lifetime of service to the game in what, for many years, must have been difficult circumstances in South Africa," he said. "Cricket obviously owes him a huge debt of thanks."
"As a cricket administrator and a man, Percy Sonn was a giant," said Ehsan Mani, whom Sonn succeeded as ICC chief last year.
"In all the circles in which he moved, he commanded a huge amount of respect and that was never more obvious than when he was in a ICC board meeting.
"He was one of the most intelligent men I have ever met and cricket will be much the poorer for his passing."
The ICC board will choose an acting president until an election is held to find Sonn's successor.
Sonn a visionary, says CA: International Cricket Council President Percy Sonn had a vision for cricket becoming a genuine world sport, Cricket Australia said Monday, following the South African's death.
Cricket Australia Chairman Creagh O'Connor said Australian cricket was saddened by his death.
"Percy devoted a large portion of his life to cricket, initially within South Africa and then globally through his role at the ICC, and we will miss him," O'Connor said in a statement Monday.
"Personally, what impressed me most was that he had a vision for cricket developing as a genuinely world sport.
"I had the good fortune to spend some memorable cricket moments with him, in Australia when he visited last summer, and most recently at the just concluded ICC World Cup in the West Indies, and his passion for the game shone through to the end.
"On behalf of all of us at Cricket Australia, I pay tribute to a man who loved cricket and did his best to make it a better game, and offer our condolences to his family."
Inzy hails Sonn's role in Oval Test fiasco: Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq Monday praised late International Cricket Council president Percy Sonn for his handling of the Oval Test controversy last year. Inzamam said Sonn had ensured Pakistan were treated fairly after they forfeited the fourth Test against England in August. "Mr Sonn ensured Pakistan got a fair trial in the Oval case and because of his efforts the truth prevailed," Inzamam said. "Sonn backed Pakistan's legal stance and because of him, the investigations were impartial and ended in Pakistan's victory." Percival Henry Frederick Sonn, one of seven brothers, was born in Cape Town on September 25, 1949. He read law at the University of the Western Cape, and qualified as a lawyer in 1972.
Sonn became a senior counsel and was an acting judge. He served as South Africa's deputy director of public prosecutions, and was a legal advisor to the police.
He formed and headed the Directorate of Special Operations in South Africa, a crack investigative police unit modelled on the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States.
Sonn leaves a wife, Sandra, a daughter and two sons.