International opera singer, sports administrator and Southern Opera founder Chris Doig died in Christchurch this morning after a long illness.
Doig, 62, who had battled bowel cancer for several years, last appeared in public last week at the Placido Domingo concert in Christchurch.
His personal connection with the Spanish tenor brought him to New Zealand for a one-off concert that raised money for Canterbury arts organisations.
Doig was made made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in June.
He was an opera star, artistic mover and shaker, former New Zealand Cricket chief executive and member of the New Zealand Rugby Union board.
Prime Minister John Key said the country had lost a remarkable New Zealander with Doig's death.
"I am saddened to learn of the passing of Chris, who I was fortunate to get to know in recent years and to see just last week,” Key said.
“Chris was a remarkable New Zealander – he made a great contribution to our country in both culture and sport. Even in his final days he was helping the people of Christchurch as a driving force behind the Placido Domingo concert which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for arts in the city.”
NZRU chairman Mike Eagle said Doig's passing was very sad.
"Chris' contribution to New Zealand through sport, art and entertainment is immense. This is a very sad day for us all. On behalf of the NZRU and the New Zealand rugby community, I extend our heartfelt love and thoughts for Chris' wife Suzanne, and their family."
In an interview with The Press in June, Doig said he was treating his cancer as ''another project that I have to deal with''.
''I've led such an amazing life that I have no regrets. I'm sanguine about the whole thing. I'm certainly not angry or pissed off,'' he said.
''I just happen to be incredibly pragmatic about it, perhaps because I've had such a charmed life.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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