Mr White was a councillor who represented Whalebone ward since 2006. He had previously served as the borough’s cabinet member for children’s services and cabinet member for school improvement.
Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Darren Rodwell, paid tribute to the councillor.
He said: “John worked tirelessly for the residents of Whalebone ward and he will surely be missed.
“Our thoughts are with John’s family at this difficult time.”
Mr White was a “champion of all things education” according to a council spokesman and he worked hard to ensure that the Chadwell Heath Community Centre, formerly the Robert Jeyes Library, is now a resource for the whole community.
Funeral arrangements will be announced when details are available.