David Fanshawe, who has died after suffering a stroke, was one of the UK’s leading composers and spent much of his life travelling the world recording ethnic music.

Mr Fanshawe, 68, collapsed at his home near Ramsbury on June 28 and was rushed to Great Western Hospital at Swindon where he died on Monday last week with his wife Jane at his bedside.

He had been on life support but he breathed naturally for the last three days and died peacefully, said Mrs Fanshawe.

Her husband, who liked to be described as a composer and explorer, recorded music, songs and chants passed down the generations which he feared might be otherwise lost.

Over the last 30 years he amassed more than 2,000 stereo tapes, 950 boxes of colour slides and 40 volumes of handwritten journals.

Most of his work involved preserving and documenting the traditional music and oral traditions of the Pacific islands of Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia.

However Mr Fanshawe, who was born in Devon and settled in Wiltshire in 1992, did not only collect other people’s music but was also a prolific composer himself.

His music, which includes African Sanctus, won him international distinction and he was also sound recordist, archivist, performer, lecturer, record producer, photographer and author.

He made a number of television documentaries and wrote more than 50 commercial scores for film and television including for the film Tarka the Otter and the TV drama When The Boat Comes In.

Last year he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Music by the University of the West of England. Brother James said: “This was in many ways the highlight of his life but he would always say that it was other people who counted most of all.

“His passion for life and music was an inspiration to everyone he met and he touched many lives.”

He and his first wife Judith, who remained a lifelong friend, had two children, Alexander and Rebecca, who is expecting his first grandchild. He and his second wife Jane had another daughter Rachel. He is survived by his 94-year old mother Phyllis.

There will be a private funeral service in St Michael’s Church in Aldbourne tomorrow, followed by cremation.

There is to be a memorial service for which details will be announced later.