The news is beginning to filter through the Auckland glbt community, where Strickland was well known for her work with whakawahine and takataapui people and became a New Zealand AIDS Foundation Life Member in 2010.
While Strickland, a transgender woman, was often a controversial and divisive figure, friend Phylesha Brown-Acton hopes she will be remembered for her heart and not "what was speculated."
"She was the best person I had ever met and I am so heart-broken she is no longer here, I am in OZ with work and all I want right now is to be by her side," Brown-Acton tells GayNZ.com Daily News.
"Words cannot express how much you have inspired me, words cannot express how much of a real person you were! No one had a heart like yours! You were true, real, and more upfront then any person I know!" Acton-Brown adds in a Facebook tribute.
"Before I came to OZ, we sat in the Mangere carpark @ 3am talking about life, talking about sisterhood! I'll cherish your words! I'll cherish all my time with you! You talked about always being real, always helping others, you had so much in your heart! So much good! I love you sis! I can't believe this!"
Human Rights Commissioner Richard Tankersley says he is deeply saddened to hear of Strickland's passing. "My deepest condolences to her whanau, her close friends, and to those in the whakawahine and takataapui communities who held her dearly in their hearts," he says.
"Sad to hear, may mama rest in peace," drag diva Miss K has added. "Even though at times we never agreed with some things we both agreed to place it to one side and keep moving forward. XX"
"So sorry babes, that you have left this world," DJ and designer James Leuii says "Much respect and aroha for you... you have always been generous to me and I will always treasure that."
Jordan Harris, who worked closely with Strickland through his work for the NZ AIDS Foundation and who knew her personally for many years this evening told GayNZ.com Daily News this is "a very sad time for takataapui and our wider community. We are mournig the loss of yet another matriarch. She was an advocate for our communities, for HIV and AIDS, she was a leader who did a lot of work supporting young people in need."
Tere Strickland was, according to her Facebook profile, aged 49. Friends have already started gathering at her South Auckland home to mourn her passing.