Born: May 1 1932 in Penzance.
Training: Royal Naval College in Dartmouth.
Best known for: Leading British forces during Falklands conflict.
Interesting fact: Penzance is mainland Britain's closest major town to Argentina.
The start of Sir John's Navy career saw him working as a submarine specialist. Jobs with the Ministry of Defence and in training roles in the '70s gave way to him taking command of HMS Sheffield between 1976 and 1977.
It was after serving as director of naval plans between 1978 and 1981 that he was assigned to lead the British task force sent to the Falklands.
ITV News' correspondent Rageh Omaar reports:
As well as his leadership during the conflict, Sir John 'Sandy' Woodward later went on to advise Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet and becoming Flag Aide-de Camp to the Queen.
David Cameron has paid tribute to Sir John's "heroic command" during the Falklands conflict. He said: "We are indebted to him for his many years of service and the vital role he played to ensure that the people of the Falkland Islands can still today live in peace and freedom."
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said Sir John Woodward will be remembered as the 'fighting admiral'.
With the Falklands conflict never far from his mind, Sir John wrote his memoirs of his time in command during the Falklands war in One Hundred Days. He was knighted in 1982.
Among others paying tribute to Sir 'Sandy' and his achievements spanning a navy career of over 40 years is First Sea Lord Adm. George Zambellas.
Sir John's daughter said he died after a long illness