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Eric Hertz. Photo via 2degrees.

Eric Hertz, the former Zumobi executive and CEO of New Zealand mobile company 2degrees, has passed away after crashing his Beechcraft Baron plane into Kawhia Hawbour, 60 miles south of Auckland.

The crash occurred Saturday afternoon. Hertz’s wife, Kathy, was also on board.

Before heading to New Zealand in 2009, Hertz lived in Seattle and was the CEO at Zumobi, a Seattle-based mobile app company. He previously held executive roles at Western Wireless and AT&T.

“We are all stunned and deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Eric and his wife Kathy this past weekend,” Zumobi CEO Ken Willner said in a statement. “Eric was instrumental in the early formation of Zumobi and he continued to be a strong supporter of the company over the years.  More than that though, Eric was a dear friend to many of us and one of the most authentic and decent people that I’ve ever had the chance to meet.  He will be terribly missed.”

Hertz began working with 2degrees’ majority investor Bellevue-based Trilogy Partners before moving to New Zealand four years ago to help lead 2degrees, just weeks after the company debuted.

He successfully led the carrier to the one million customer mark just three years after launch.

“We are going to miss Eric’s leadership, friendship and dry sense of humour,” 2degrees Director of Corporate Affairs Mat Bolland said in a statement. “He was our ‘honorary Kiwi’ and greatly respected by our 760 staff.”

Hertz was a highly-respected and accomplished leader, as apparent from the numerous tributes coming out for him. 2degrees has set up a tribute page for people to post messages in remembrance.

“Eric and Kathy had lived in many places, but called New Zealand home,” Bolland said. “They recently gained residency and, through flying, got to see more of New Zealand than many of us will ever see.”

We’ve reached out to Zumobi for comment and will update when we hear back.

UPDATE, 12:30 P.M. — This post was updated with comment from Zumobi CEO Ken Willner

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