The leader of the Cook Islands Democratic Party, Wilkie Rasmussen, has paid tribute to Sir Terepai Maoate, saying he was one of the pioneers of Cook Islands politics.
The former Prime Minister died aged 77 after a long battle with prostate cancer.
The government is planning a state funeral, and Sir Terepai's family says it will be held on Friday Cook Islands time.
Mr Rasmussen says this is a sad loss for the country, and Sir Terepai was a fearsome fighter as a politician and a principled man who would stand his ground for what he believed in.
He says one of Sir Terepai's legacies as Prime Minister and minister of finance is that he ensured there are always reserve funds for the Cook Islands.
"And he built that up from a period of time in politics where those reserve funds were used for other purposes and he made sure that these funds stayed there to build up a sort of back-up funding for the government, if I'm to say anything as a legacy from him that I remember clearly it's for that."
The leader of the Democratic Party, Wilkie Rasmussen.