A friend of a Queenstown woman who died in Mexico says he is devastated he will never see her smile again.

Philippa Greig, known as Pip, died at the weekend. The cause is yet to be confirmed, though it is understood she died after a brief and unexpected illness.

Friend Steve Wilde, who is on holiday in the United States, said he was devastated and remembered her ''fabulous smile''.

He had known her for 25 years, and said she was house-sitting in the Mexican coastal resort of Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast when she died.


Wilde had planned to visit her in the coming weeks.

''We were both... looking forward to being in the Mexican sun and chatting about anything and everything.

''She sounded in such good spirits. I'm devastated.''

Her parents, Rob and Roz, owned Pinewood Village, one of Queenstown's longest-established accommodation businesses, while her sister, Mitchey, is a freestyle skier who has competed at the Winter Olympics.

Wilde said he understood her mother and father had arrived in Mexico to arrange repatriation of her body, and her brother, Andrew, was on his way.

He said he was heartbroken for the family and paid tribute to his friend's sense of fun and adventure, along with her affinity for peoples' vulnerabilities.

''You could confide in Pip, and she was beyond loyal.

''She was living the dream, and that's one thing I take solace from ... she was out there living life to the max.


''The thought of never seeing her sparkly eyes and fabulous smile and being able to have just one more silly night out on the town, especially outside the Queenstown bubble ...''

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said it was aware of a case in Mexico involving the death of a New Zealander and was providing consular assistance to the family, but would not comment further, citing privacy.