New Zealand rock musician Chris Knox is unable to talk after suffering a stroke on Thursday.

Paul Kean, bass player for Knox's ex-band Toy Love, said he understood the 57-year-old could still not speak and doctors had taken action to try to relieve pressure on Knox's skull.

He had apparently been able to drink water and answer basic questions while being taken to hospital, Kean told The Dominion Post.

Earlier friends said doctors were anticipating Knox would, at best, be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

A family spokesman said Knox's partner, Barbara Ward, and children, John and Leisha, were grateful for the support and love they were getting.

Knox's recording career stretches back to late 70s punk era bands The Enemy and Toy Love, as well, as having a long association with independent music label Flying Nun as a solo artist and a member of duo the Tall Dwarfs.

His best known songs include the hit Not Given Lightly.

Knox is also an television arts show presenter, writer and cartoonist who has pennned the weekly Max Media strip in the New Zealand Herald's entertainment pages for almost 20 years.