Family flock to terminally ill Columbus

SUE BREBNER
Last updated 11:09 16/04/2014
Ray Columbus
GRAHAME COX/Fairfax NZ

FAMILY HOLIDAY: Terminally ill Ray Columbus, pictured in 2012, will have his family with him to celebrate Easter.

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The family of terminally ill music legend Ray Columbus will be at his side for Easter.

Wife Linda says 12 family members, including two grandchildren, are travelling from the United States to spend time with Columbus at his home north of Auckland.

"He's holding his own at the moment and he's determined to keep on living," Linda says.

"Pure willpower is keeping him alive.

"He is an invalid but he can walk to the letterbox."

Longtime friend and fellow musician Larry Morris is in regular contact and says Columbus remains very positive despite the severity of his illness.

"He was very emphatic that he made it to Christmas and now it's April," Morris says.

Columbus, best known for the 60s hit, She's a Mod, is suffering from an immune-deficiency problem thought to have been brought on by the heavy medication he has been on for a raft of health issues.

He had a heart attack in 2004 while standing as a candidate in Auckland local body elections and had to withdraw.

"It's the old proverb, isn't it? Man plans, God laughs," he told Fairfax in 2011.

"Whether I would have won or not, who knows?"

A major stroke seven years ago paralysed much of his right side.

His 54-year music career produced 14 hit records and he toured with stars including The Rolling Stones and Roy Orbison.

Columbus became the the first pop star to be awarded an Order of the British Empire for services to New Zealand in 1974.

She's a Mod

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- Fairfax Media

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