Celebrity News

Musician Ray Columbus has died, age 74

Tributes are flowing for the legendary Kiwi star.
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Legendary Kiwi musician Ray Columbus has died, aged 74.

The singer, who hit the charts in 1964 with the song She’s a Mod, had been in ill health for a number of years following a heart attack in 2004. He suffered stroked in 2008 and 2012, and in 2013 revealed he was terminally ill, suffering an immune deficiency problem.

Columbus was the first New Zealander to record an overseas number one single, and supported big musical acts including the Rolling Stones, Shirley Bassey, and Roy Orbison.

He then went on to launch a successful management career.

Columbus discovered Kiwi talents including Tina Cross, Zed, and The Chicks.

“He was ahead of everyone else with what he was doing,” his long-time friend, singer Suzanne Lynch, told Fairfax.

“I think Ray and the Invaders [his band] raised the bar for New Zealand music.”

In his memoir, Ray Columbus: The Modfather – The Life and Times of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Pioneer, he spoke of an affair he had with a 25-year-old when he was just 16.

READ: Ray Columbus shares what his older lover taught him

When he was 15 and working in a dairy, he claimed four women ripped his clothes off and tried, but failed, to rape him.

Columbus was the first pop star in the British Commonwealth to receive an OBE.

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