Radio DJ Kevin Black has died suddenly - just days before his 70th birthday.
Tributes have been pouring in for the former Radio Hauraki DJ known as "Blackie", who suffered a suspected heart attack last night in his Remuera home.
It is understood Black's family were out at the time, and came home to discover he had collapsed.
Black retired in 2009 after more than 30 years behind the decks at a number of stations. But he was perhaps most famously remembered for his morning show at Radio Hauraki.
There he became renowned for his on-air pranks in his "inspired lunacy" segment.
It was in 1976, after a five year stint with the British Merchant Navy and then a few years working for Radio Caroline - the world's first pirate station - and later the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, that he took a job at Hauraki.
He hosted the breakfast show with John Hawkesby and Phil Gifford.
A number of radio DJs, still mourning the death of another broadcasting icon, Sir Paul Holmes, have expressed their grief online.
On Twitter, Dominic Harvey of The Edge radio station credited Black as the reason he decided to go into broadcasting.
"Devastated about the death of my old mate Kevin Black. I love that man. At 14 I decided to get into radio because of him. So sad he's gone."
The Rock Morning Rumble host Leah Panapa said: "RIP Kevin Black. I had the privilege of working with you and you truly were a legend!"
Chang Hung, a producer on MoreFM said Black would affectionately be remembered for his jokes.
"Very sad to hear that Kevin Black has passed away - my memory of Blackie were the inappropriate jokes he used to tell me every morning."
Talking to Marcus Lush on Radio Live, Gifford said Black brought "an absolute charm" to radio.
"One of the things about Kevin, as a person, which he was able to ... convey on air was that he was just an extremely likeable man," Gifford said.
"He was a guy that had a life before radio, and he brought that knowledge too. By the time Kevin got to air he could identify with people, and because he was so quick-witted he was able to just make people laugh."
Gifford said going out with Black in public was like "going out with a member of the royal family".
"People danced attendance on him because he was just so much fun to be around," he said.
Hawkesby said he "burst into tears" when he heard the news.
Hawkesby said he was last with Black on Friday at Stonyridge vineyard on Waiheke Island, for the wake of Ross Goodwin, the programme director for Black's breakfast show on Radio Hauraki.
"Kevin was in such good spirits ... and he looked brilliant," Hawkesby said.
"He was the king of the one-liner, he was very zany, he had excellent timing and he was very engaging."
Hawkesby said part of Black's success was his "interesting and mischievous" voice.
- © Fairfax NZ News