Prime Minister John Key says the country has lost a remarkable New Zealander with the passing of Christopher Doig.

The 62-year-old died this morning after a two-year battle with bowel cancer. His condition deteriorated significantly over the last few days and he was admitted to Christchurch's Nurse Maude Hospice yesterday.

"I am saddened to learn of the passing of Chris, who I was fortunate to get to know in recent years and to see just last week,'' Mr Key said.

"Chris was a remarkable New Zealander _ he made a great contribution to our country in both culture and sport. Even in his final days he was helping the people of Christchurch as a driving force behind the Placido Domingo concert which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for arts in the city.''


Mr Doig was known as an international opera singer and was the Director of the International Festival of the Arts for a period during the 1990s. In the sporting world, Mr Doig was CEO at New Zealand Cricket and had also held a position on the boards of the New Zealand Rugby Union and Rowing New Zealand for a time.

"Chris's contribution is not limited to these organisations - he made a wide-ranging and significant contribution to New Zealand,'' Mr Key said.

NZC Chief Executive Justin Vaughan said the thoughts of all who knew and worked with Chris were with his family at this sad time.

On behalf of the family of cricket I would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Chris Doig.

It was an honour and a privilege to have known Chris. He was a great servant of New Zealand Cricket and an insightful and astute administrator.

He will be fondly remembered for his contributions not only to cricket but his service to other sports, the arts and the community.

NZRU chairman Mike Eagle also paid tribute to Doig.

"On behalf of the family of Chris Doig, it is with the deepest sympathy that I confirm that Chris passed away peacefully in Christchurch today, in the presence of his loving family.'

"Chris' contribution to New Zealand through sport, art and entertainment is immense. This is a very sad day for us all. On behalf of the NZRU and the New Zealand rugby community, I extend our heartfelt love and thoughts for Chris' wife Suzanne, and their family."

Doig also worked closely with SPARC, Creative New Zealand and New Zealand Rowing.

He was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen's Birthday Honours earlier this year for services to the arts and sport, after previously receiving an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.