Key Points:

Disgraced sexologist and radio host Pierre Beautrais, who left New Zealand in the 1990s, has died in Thailand at the age of 54.

Beautrais, a talkback host for Radio Pacific, was struck off the psychologists' register in 1995.

He was found guilty of six counts of professional misconduct relating to sexual harassment and inappropriate relationships with clients, as well as one charge of conduct unbecoming.

Beautrais, who was single and lived in China, travelled widely and photographs of trips to Greece, Germany, the United States and Cyprus appear on the internet.

In an online profile, Beautrais outlined his work as a radio host in China and his work running a private consultancy firm.

In the years before his death he was involved with the United Nations University's International Leadership Forum, Curtin University in Australia and the Boao Forum for Asia. He was noted for a controversial friendship with Jack Sanders, real name James Stubbs, who was linked to a plot called Operation Weasel to smuggle North Korean defectors to the West.

Sanders was the publisher of the Chinese trade publication Insight, while Beautrais was the editor-in-chief.

He was pictured shaking hands with former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and former New Zealand Prime Minister and World Trade Organisation director-general Mike Moore.

His brother Keith Beautrais, who lives in Wanganui, said he had had emails from all over the world in remembrance of Pierre.

Mr Beautrais described his brother as a "larger than life character" who was involved in a large number of humanitarian causes.

"He had an amazing life experience. He was a very effective psychologist and was a great help to a lot of people, and when that career came to an end he moved on.

"We feel devastated that his life was cut short at a time when he was involved with some very positive projects."

He said that at the time of his death, Pierre Beautrais was on his way home to New Zealand to work on a code of ethics with Manukau East MP Ross Robertson, and to work with forest activist Stephen King.

Mr Beautrais understood his brother had trouble breathing on the flight to Thailand and was given oxygen, but died of heart failure on his way to hospital.

He said his brother, whose daughter lives in New Zealand, had been cremated in Thailand.