Fong, a Republican, was 57. His wife Paula told the Associated Press that Fong died Wednesday morning after a battle with skin cancer.
Current Treasurer Bill Lockyer issued the following statement:
"Our state has lost a fine leader and a great example of the Asian-Pacific community's tremendous contributions to the California family. As Treasurer, Matt never forgot he was managing taxpayers' money, and never failed to put their interests first. I try to live up to that standard. My heart goes out to Matt's family. I hope they find strength in his courage, and that their grief quickly fades into the quiet joy of memories."
Gov. Jerry Brown also issued a statement:
"Matt Fong lived a life of service. He served his country as an Air Force Reservist and, later, he served the people of California as their Treasurer. It is with great sadness that Anne and I learned of his passing. On behalf of all Californians, I wish to express gratitude for the service that Mr. Fong provided to our great state during his term as Treasurer. Our thoughts are with his wife, Paula, and their two children, Jade and Matthew, during this time. I also wish to express my deepest condolences to Mr. Fong's mother, former California Secretary of State March Fong Eu, with whom I served in Sacramento from 1974 to 1983."
Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer issued a statement praising Fong, son of former secretary of State March Fong Eu and Boxer's 1998 opponent for reelection, as a "strong competitor" who had a "distinguished career of public service in California ."
"We debated passionately, but we always had respect for one another. He will be missed and I send my deepest condolences to his family," she said.
Former Gov. Pete Wilson said: "Matt was a man of courage, of great intellect and a wonderful heart. He was a thoroughly decent good man and one of the more talented public servants that I have been privileged to work with. I will miss him greatly, both personally and professionally."
From state Controller John Chiang: "Matt Fong was a California fiscal leader who served residents of this state with distinction. He had a great passion for public service and a great sense of humor. He also was a friend who bravely battled cancer for many years.
Editor's note: This post was updated throughout the afternoon with reaction.
PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Fong in 2004. The Associated Press/ Ric Francis