Lindsay was at the Deepdale helm between June 2010 and December 2011, appointed by Trevor Hemmings following his takeover of North End.
Lindsay also had a spell as a director of Wigan Athletic, giving that role up to take the North End chairmanship.
It was a difficult era at Deepdale for Lindsay to preside over, Hemmings having bought PNE in the summer of 2010 after being served with winding-up petitions by HM Revenue and Customs.
Plenty of cost-cutting had to be done and North End were relegated from the Championship at the end of the 2010/11 season.
Following a spell of ill health after knee replacement surgery, Lindsay stepped down as chairman at the beginning of December 2011 and was replaced soon after by Peter Ridsdale.
When he left Deepdale, Lindsay said: “When I came in the club was in a difficult position and facing three winding-up petitions.
"We dealt with those and it has been tough at times.”
North End posted their tribute to Lindsay on social media, saying: “We are saddened to hear of the passing of former chairman Maurice Lindsay.
“Our thoughts are with Maurice's family and friends at this sad time.”
Lindsay was best known for his time at Wigan Warriors, overseeing a golden age for the rugby league side.
In his first spell Wigan won eight league championships and the Challenge Cup nine times – they won the cup eight years in a row between 1988 and 1995.
Lindsay left Wigan to become chief executive of the RFL in 1992 and proposed the setting-up of Super League.
He re-joined Wigan in the late 1990s when Warriors moved in with Wigan Athletic at the JJB Stadium.
Wigan Warriors posted on social media: “Wigan Warriors are deeply saddened to announce the passing of former chairman Maurice Lindsay at the age of 81.
“Lindsay joined Wigan in 1980 and went on to lead the club through a period of transformation.
“We send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Maurice.”