Theatre lovers and others who enjoy good entertainment will be mourning across Rotorua at the loss of superstar Rob Guest.

Guest, whose name is up there in lights with the likes of Ray Columbus and John Rowles, died in Australia yesterday after suffering a stroke. He was aged 58.

Guest, the world's longest-serving Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera, had been starring in the Melbourne production of Wicked at the time. He died peacefully surrounded by family and friends.

Guest was born in Britain but enjoyed fame as a pop star in New Zealand in the 1970s, spent a decade in Las Vegas and took the stage in Australia, and was also famous in Les Miserables.

Ray Columbus, who also suffered a stroke earlier this year, says Guest would have been under a lot of pressure in his job, but had not shown signs of illness.

Of course, as reported in The Daily Post yesterday, Rob Guest had a very special link with Rotorua.

He starred in productions of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and Jesus Christ Superstar at Rotorua's Civic Theatre in the early 1980s.

But he also had a lasting impact on the local theatre scene: the money earned off these productions paid for the building of the Casablanca Theatre on Riri St. He did indeed have many local supporters and friends.

And, as reported today, our own home-grown star Elizabeth Marvelly toured Rotorua and Hamilton with Guest two years ago. She says he was an instrumental figure in defining her career.

Rob Guest's legend will live on and hopefully inspire others in our city to follow their dreams if they too want to carve a theatre or related career. Perhaps they too will one day become a superstar, like him.