I heard this late last night via Twitter and hoped it wasn't true. Sadly, it is. NZ Herald story here. Much love to his family and friends at this sad time.
UPDATE: Statement from Peter Urlich (Via NZH)
"At this moment I'm waiting to wake from a terrible dream. I have just lost my oldest and dearest friend, Ian Morris.
The cruel fact is that only in these moments, do you truly realise how important a mate like that is. If I were a house, one side of me has just collapsed.
Ian was one of the foundations of me. He possessed a talent that I was in awe of; he had a staggering intelligence that had few equals; his mind was scalpel sharp but his heart was soft; and we shared a sense of humour that I thought we would trade until we were wizened old men. (I recognise these attributes also in David Joseph Dobbyn).
The two of them found each other in Form 1, Sacred Heart College, 1968 - a pair of slightly nervous freshmen, who only had music to fight off the bullies. And I found them at the same time.
Thank God! I cannot begin to accurately describe what those two men mean to me. And now one of them has gone. Ian, I loved the way you played guitar, I loved the way you played with my boys Joe and Stan: I loved your immaculate taste in music.
I cherished that we were so in tune that we didn't need words.
Thank you for all of your wisdom. I can't remember when you were actually wrong. Thank you for your the fact that you would have forgiven me anything. That goes for me too.
And thank you so much for choosing me to be your lead singer."
UPDATE 2: Morris had two number one chart hits as Tex Pistol - the tune above, and Nobody Else, on Trevor Reekie's label Pagan Records. These release notes are from Simon Grigg's extensive discography of the Pagan catalogue, with notes by Trevor.
PAG 1013Tex Pistol - Ballad of Buckskin Bob / I Don’t Know What Came Over Me / Winter (June 86) Ian Morris. Chris Bourke sold me on Tex. I knew he was gonna do us good but it wasn’t gonna be this one but we managed to get Winter into a film.
PAG 1030Tex Pistol - The Game of Love / Boot Hill drag (87) The old Mindbenders hit. Our first number one single and radio lapped it up.
PAG 1038Tex Pistol - Nobody Else / Wilf (May 88) I convinced Ian Morris to make this recording he’d done with Rikki to be part of Tex Pistol. Then we found Paul Middleditch, a 20 year old genius video maker to make what is still a fantastic video. Went to number one. By this time I’d bought the label from the receivers.
PAG 1048 Tex Pistol and Rikki Morris - Come Back Louise / Notting Hill Shuffle (89) By this time the tall poppy thing was clobbering us big time.