Hello Sailor founding member David McArtney has died at his Pt Chevalier home.
Former Hello Sailor manager David Gapes said everyone he had spoken to was in “disbelief” at the death.
“In the business of rough and tough people, he was one of the gentlemen,” Gapes said.
“He could write sing, he was an instrumentalist. He’s written some of New Zealand’s most memorable songs.
McArtney founded Hello Sailor in the mid-1970s with musicians Graham Brazier and Harry Lyon.
He wrote and sang the group’s classic song Gutter Black, which was used as the theme song to the television show Outrageous Fortune.
McArteny worked at the Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand.
McArtney later went on to form the band Pink Flamingo.
New Zealand music author John Dix said news of McArtney’s death was “absolutely devastating”.
Warner Music New Zealand tweeted: “Sad news today – legendary Kiwi musician Dave McArtney has died.”
McArtney had been a tutor at the Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand since 2003. Students and colleagues had been told of his death this morning.
He had two adult children.