Prominent journalist and author Graeme Hunt died at his Auckland home yesterday.

Mr Hunt, a candidate for the Auckland Super City Council and the Waitemata District Health Board in the upcoming local elections, turned 58 on Monday.

He had been suffering heart disease and had an internal defibrillator installed recently but friends said his death was a surprise.

Mr Hunt began work as a trainee accountant in 1969 and had been a journalist since 1974.

His website said he was the Auckland Star's youngest business editor and former editor-at-large of the National Business Review Auckland, where his work included editing the newspaper's Rich List.

Mr Hunt also wrote a number of books, covering topics such as the Cave Creek disaster, family history and trade unionist Finton Walsh.

He was also one of the country's most vocal opponents of the MMP electoral system and a co-founder along with Peter Shirtcliffe of the Put MMP to the Vote lobby group.

His passing was acknowledged by one of MMP's supporters, Campaign for MMP spokeswoman Sandra Grey, who said her group and Mr Hunt's both had a strong interest in an active public discussion leading into next year's MMP referendum, and she acknowledged Mr Hunt's role in this important debate.

Mr Hunt was educated at Penrose College in Auckland. He became a member of the college's board of trustees and in 2008 contributed to the college's rebranding and renaming as One Tree Hill College. The school's roll has increased significantly since then.

He was also a member of the Young Enterprise Trust Supporters' Council and a member of and adviser to the panel that selects laureates for the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame.

A friend, NZPA journalist Ian Stuart, described Mr Hunt as a man of great integrity.

He is survived by his second wife Saluma. He had two children, Robert and Ellen, from his first marriage.

- NZPA