Colourful madam and brothel owner Stormy Summers has been remembered as a “great Adelaide character” after she died late on Sunday.

The former lord mayoral candidate died aged 77 at the Lyell McEwin Hospital after a short illness.

Long-time friend Peter Goers said he was “very proud to be friends” with Ms Summers.

“I admired her,” he said.

“(She was) vibrant, unforgettable, her own character, generous, dazzling”.

“She was a very generous woman with lots of chutzpah and she was a character — she was a great Adelaide character.

“She had loyalty, and as I say, generosity of spirit. It’s a great shame that she died.”

Peter Goers says Ms Summers had a “generosity of spirit”.(ABC News)

Ms Summers infamously barricaded herself in her Light Square home and business in 2006 after she failed to pay $60,000 in rent to the owner.

She refused to leave her home of 15 years, triggering a two-hour-long stand-off with police.

Mr Goers said Ms Summers’s enduring legacy would be her advocacy to decriminalise sex work.

His favourite memories include attending lavish parties at her Waymouth Street penthouse apartment and her wedding, held in Light Square.

“The wedding was one of the great Adelaide events,” he said.

“It was one of the most outrageous and wonderful events in the history of our city.”

While he knew of her reputation, Mr Goers first met Ms Summers when she ran for lord mayor in 2000.

“I knew of her of course — everybody in Adelaide knew of her — and I knew her work as an entertainer. She was a bright life in my life and as I say, a great Adelaide character.”

Summers had a ‘heart of gold’

Arts critic and journalist Samela Harris told ABC Radio Adelaide Ms Summers was not just a colourful character, but “one of the good people of this city”.

“It came to the fore, I think, when she ran for mayor — that was an extraordinary period because her policies were so high in social justice,” she said. 

Stormy Summers pushed to decriminalise sex work in South Australia.(ABC News)

“It was not just prostitution law reform, but she wanted drug rehabilitation clinics in the city and accommodation for the homeless and improvements for the more deprived areas for the city and she was keen on respect for the parklands.

“She had the most emancipated policies because she had been a city dweller and dealing with some of the underclass in the city, so she had — as it’s been said all day long — she had a heart of gold.”

Ms Harris said despite how Ms Summers made money, she always paid taxes.

“She was a taxpayer … whether her business was legal or not, she was very law abiding, ironically,” she said.

Harris said the sex workers who worked for Stormy were “battlers that she cared for”.

“She kept them healthy and she kept them away from drugs. Her girls were extremely well cared for,” she said.

“As for her business premises, I’ve never been anywhere more fastidiously and obsessively clean in my life. There’s not a five-star hotel that’s cleaner than her premises were.”