Sir John Todd, the patriarch of New Zealand's wealthy Todd family, has died aged 88 after a period of illness.
The former chairman of Todd Corp died at his Wellington home on yesterday evening, son Mike Todd said in a statement.
Sir John worked his way up through the family business, started by his grandfather Charles Todd, entering the firm in 1945.
He was appointed managing director of Todd Motors in 1968, deputy chair of the board in 1978 and chairman of the new entity Todd Corp in 1987 until his retirement in December 2011.
"Our father was a highly respected New Zealander who made a significant contribution to business and philanthropy," Mike Todd said. "He was a man of enterprise and grace and he will be greatly missed."
The Todd family business spans a range of investments including energy exploration and extraction, electricity retailing, minerals, property, winemaking, telecommunications and healthcare.
This year's NBR rich list estimated it to be worth $3.16 billion.
The family is increasingly investing offshore. Todd Corp is currently engaged in mopping up the remaining shares of ASX-listed Rutila Resources, which is developing the Balla Balla iron ore project in Pilbara, Western Australia and is developing a methanol plant in the US state of Louisiana.
Sir John was also involved in the family's philanthropic trust, chairing the Todd Foundation since 1988. The foundation gave out almost $4.7 million in grants last year to a range of projects across the country.
Prime Minister John Key acknowledged Sir John's passing, saying he was a highly respected and admired businessman who put a lot of time into the trust which helps children and families.
"It was a privilege to have known him. My thoughts are with Sir John's family and friends at this time."
In 2012 Sir John received a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his contributions to business, having been awarded the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009.