Weta singer Aaron Tokona dies of heart attack

Aaron Tokona.
Aaron Tokona. Photo credit: Ahoribuzz/Facebook

Kiwi rock legend Aaron Tokona has died suddenly of a heart attack.

The Weta singer's passing was reported by music industry executive Morgon Donoghue.

"My dear friend from school and one of the most talented musicians I know Aaron Tokona died of a heart attack today," he posted on Twitter.

"Last time I saw him was at my 40th where he played with Dave Dobbyn, Hollie Smith, Che Fu... Rest In Peace and music my bro."

Tokona was the lead singer in Weta, whose sole album - 2000's Geographica - received a five-star review in the NZ Herald and was named the paper's second-best album of the year, behind only the debut from Coldplay.

"Geographica was quick, slow, loud, soft and emotive throughout," wrote Graham Reid and Russell Baillie. "Those of dynamics made its 11 tracks a complete rock'n'roll album, and a vital one. A classic debut."

Weta broke up in 2001, Tokona going on to perform in Fly My Pretties and Cairo Knife Fight, and solo as AHoriBuzz. 

He was friends with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's partner Clarke Gayford, who said on Twitter the "singalongs in my backyard with Aaron playing guitar for hours on end" were now "a precious memory".

"Rest In Peace Aaron Tokona," RNZ music specialist Charlotte Ryan wrote on Twitter. "The first time I saw you play was in Weta at the Dux de lux in Chch -  I thought you were amazing and so rock and roll...  Sending love and strength to your friends and family."

"RIP Aaron you were one of the best guitarists we ever had," Donoghue added. "NZ Music will be so much weaker without you."

Tokona was in his mid-40s.