Video Obit: Remembering Kiwi music legend Ray Columbus, 1942-2016

Kiwi music legend Ray Columbus has died.

He was 74.

A family friend told 1 NEWS Columbus died after a long illness.

His most well known hit was She's A Mod, which was released in 1964 with Ray Columbus and the Invaders.

Ray Columbus performing
Ray Columbus performing Source: Getty

It was the first New Zealand song to reach the top of the charts in another country when it hit number one in Australia. 

Singer Suzanne Lynch told TVNZ 1's Sunday programme that Columbus was New Zealand's first big rock star.

"I just think he moved music on in NZ to a much higher level, he set the benchmark for all the groups who came after him."  

Columbus was one of the country's most enduring entertainers as a solo artist, television host and manager.

The boy from Christchurch was just 17 when he teamed up with his first band, and at the urging of the late Sir Howard Morrison, moved to Auckland to further his career.

The release of She's A Mod saw him top the Aussie charts for eight weeks, and he opened for the Rolling Stones 52 times.

Ray Columbus Greatest Hits
Ray Columbus Greatest Hits Source: 1 NEWS

He was made an OBE in 1974, the first pop singer in the Commonwealth to receive the honour, and in 2009 was inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame.

He suffered a heart attack in 2004 and strokes in 2008 and 2012. He later revealed he had an immune deficiency problem.

Columbus is survived by wife Linda, two children and three grandchildren.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 03:  Ray Columbus arrives for the 2010 Vodafone Music Awards at Vector Arena on November 3, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand.  (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
Ray Columbus, 2010 Source: Getty

He's most renowned for his hit She's A Mod, which was released in 1964 with Ray Columbus and the Invaders. Source: 1 NEWS