Argea died Monday night at the home of his nephew, according to close friend Bill Taylor. Nicklaus was traveling from the Bahamas and planned a statement later Tuesday, his spokesman said.
Argea went to the Palm Springs Classic in 1963 to caddie for a Las Vegas hotel executive when he was told more caddies were needed for the pros. He signed up with Nicklaus, believing the reigning U.S. Open champion would not show up because of a hip injury.
Nicklaus showed up, won the tournament, and he won in Las Vegas later in the year with Argea at his side.
'Jack figured he better lock me up, take me with him,' Argea said in an interview with Golf magazine this year.
They went on to win about 40 tournaments together, including the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship. Argea stopped working for Nicklaus in 1982 and never had a chance to caddie for any of his Masters victories because Augusta National did not allow players to bring their own caddies until 1983.
They cut a memorable figure on the golf course - the Golden Bear and his caddie with big hair.
The last major they won together was the 1980 U.S. Open at Baltusrol, at a time when many thought Nicklaus' best days were behind him. He defeated Isao Oaki that day, and went on to win two more majors.
'They just kept cheering, 'Jack is back! Jack is back!' He was grinning all over, smiling, signing autographs,' Argea recalled in the Golf magazine interview. 'He was so happy. We all were. People will remember us that day 50, 60 years from now.'
Rossi Funeral Home in Canton said services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.
Argea is survived by his sister, Loula Tsapatouros, and a nephew.