Masinga signed for Leeds in 1994, becoming the first South African to play in the Premier League when he came on as a substitute in a 0-0 draw at West Ham United.
His goal against Chelsea a week later was the first by a South African in the PL.
Compatriot Lucas Radebe, who joined Leeds at the same time as Masinga, has fondly remembered his first days in England as he paid tribute to his former team-mate.
"For us as Africans it was a great experience," Radebe told the BBC. "We weren't used to the weather and we struggled a little bit - we kept each other warm at times.
"Phil was a big hit with the team and the players. I looked up to him and I think he inspired me the most. It was absolutely great the way he adapted to the situation.
"He was easy to get along with and he was most respected at the club as a person."
Former Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar described Masinga as a legend.
"Very sad news for South African football, we lost a true football legend in Phil 'Chippa' Masinga," Pienaar wrote on Twitter. "He paved the way for all South African footballers in the UK."
In total Masinga made 31 Premier League appearances, scoring five goals.
"It is with great sadness that the club has learnt of former striker Phil Masinga's passing," read a Leeds United statement.
"The thoughts of everyone at #LUFC are with his family and friends."