Businessman Malcolm ‘Kela’ Smith, 77, died in Queensland after being flown to Australia with the virus on March 28.

Malcolm Smith was flown to Australia last month. (Nine)

The former Australian Defence force member owned businesses including Pacific Helicopters, and set up a charity for underprivileged children in Australia, the Kela Foundation.

Papua New Guinea MP Robert Agarobe called Mr Smith, who was a UK and Australian national, “a true aviator and a legend”.

Former PNG governor Malcolm Smith has died in Australia after being diagnosed with coronavirus.
Former PNG governor Malcolm Smith has died in Australia after being diagnosed with coronavirus. (Supplied/Facebook)

In a post on Facebook, he said the pair met through their aviation businesses.

“My aviation life with Malcolm Kela Smith was a love and hate relationship as competitors and we had our moments, however, we were best of friends who shared more then a few beers together and assisted each other in times of need when it came to work,” he said.

“We both had the outmost respect for each other as brothers and aviators.

“Rest easy my friend ’till we meet again.”

Queensland Health said in a statement it “offers its sincere condolences to his family during this time.”

Despite it being the seventh death related to COVID in Queensland, it won’t be counted in the state’s statistics as Mr Smith was first diagnosed in Papua New Guinea.



This content first appear on 9news

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