Defence lawyer Greg King has died suddenly in Wellington. The 42-year-old lawyer's family have asked for privacy as they come to terms with the tragic news.
King's mentor Judith Ablett Kerr QC was distraught. "I'm absolutely devastated. He was like a son to me.''
Police were notified by a member of the public at 10.30am who reportedly discovered Mr King's body lying near his vehicle.
This year King successfully defended Feilding farmer Ewen Macdonald against a murder charge in the death of his brother-in-law Scott Guy.
He is one of New Zealand's most high-profile criminal lawyers, being the youngest lawyer in New Zealand approved to conduct the defence in murder trials.
Detective Inspector Paul Basham of Wellington CIB said "Greg was well known and respected among Police staff, and I know his death will be keenly felt by many people, including those in the wider legal community, which has also suffered a huge loss."
Police say his death is not being treated as suspicious and it has been referred to the coroner.
He leaves behind his wife Catherine Milnes and two young children.