Queenstown piano busker A J Hickling lost to cancer

by Peter Newport - Jan 04, 2024

The famous Queenstown waterfront piano busker A J Hickling has died after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.

The accomplished player and composer announced his own impending death in a social media post on December 8th, 2023.

"Well... Apparently my time is nearly done. (Advanced pancreatic cancer). I'd like to say a massive thank you to my friends and supporters here.

"Its been a great honour to share music, and I couldn't have done it without your generous support. I've had an extremely blessed life.

All my love and gratitude.


A J's family has posted a tribute and farewell on social media.

"In the wake of the profound loss of Aj Hickling, whose music & spirit enriched our lives & made the world more beautiful, we come together to support his family during this challenging time.

"AJ died in his family home on Dec 29th, surrounded by some of his dearest family & friends, & held in the hearts of many. This followed a swift, yet fierce & courageous journey with pancreatic cancer. AJ faced this with resilience and grace all the while not wanting to part from his family, children, home, community & the music that defined him.

"Left behind are his partner Freja, his five-year-old son Ra, 14-year-old daughter Dyani & 15-year-old stepdaughter Jali.

"Aj's influence on New Zealand's musical, festival & busking culture is deeply felt, he has graced, inspired and given so much to so many of us touching the lives of many both in his homeland & beyond.

"A heartfelt thank you to all who choose to support here and to those who have already extended their care and compassion. Your love wraps Aj's family in a warm embrace during this incredibly difficult time.

"Community, our tribe, who have held us so tenderly through this storm & continue to hold us. I love you. My heart is broken and shredded, but you hold me in your net." - Freja.

"Aj's final musical work "Orchestral Dreams" is available for download in the spirit of busking by donation for all supporters here:



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