The husband of Wanganui mayor Annette Main died suddenly on Tuesday.
John Blythe, 61, died unexpectedly at the couple's tourist retreat, The Flying Fox, which is about 30km from the city on the banks of the Whanganui River.
On Tuesday Wanganui District Council chief executive Kevin Ross expressed the council's deep sadness at the death of Mr Blythe.
"Our thoughts, sympathies and support are with mayor Annette and their family," Mr Ross said.
"The family is currently mayor Annette's priority and we respect their wish for privacy at this sad time."
Deputy mayor Rangi Wills is fulfilling mayoral duties in Ms Main's absence.
Meanwhile, Wanganui residents took to social media to express their condolences to the mayor and her family.
On Facebook, Jaci Tozer said: "Dear Annette, much love to you and your family.
John was awesome and will be so missed."
Lynne Davidson said: "Annette, we're sorry to hear of the passing of John. Our thoughts are with you at this time. Love to you and your family."
"Mega condolences to you and your family Annette from me and mine and the wider Wanganui community, mate! Stay strong my friend," said Lawrence Clarke.
Other people spoke of Mr Blythe as being "awesome" and admired the work he did at The Flying Fox.
He was responsible for much of the building that makes it such a unique tourist destination and posts to the company's website often included references to him.
One visitor said Mr Blythe was "one of the nicest people you could wish to meet".
Another said both he and Ms Main were great hosts and "passionately connected to the history and life of the river. John and Annette are the most hospitable and friendliest hosts I've ever encountered".
Mr Blythe's funeral will be held in the Forrest Lawn Chapel, Guyton St, Wanganui, at 1pm next Monday.