Mr Colley collapsed in the last mile of the half marathon as he approached the finish line in South Shields.
Race organisers said he was attended to immediately by the emergency services but a post mortem has concluded he died of natural causes.
Mr Colley, described as a regular runner, had previously competed in numerous Great North Runs during the last 10 years.
A statement from his family said: “David was a regular runner who loved taking part in the Great North Run and always looked forward to the event. We are absolutely devastated.”
Following the news of his death on Sunday, organisers said they deeply regretted the loss of life and offered their condolences to the family.
A spokesman said: “The Great Run Company deeply regrets the loss of life of a participant at the Great North Run today and offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of the individual.”
Britain’s biggest race, which saw 57,000 people take part, was won for a second year by Mo Farah in a time of 59 minutes and 22 seconds, making it the fastest half-marathon by a British athlete.
Further success came for Britain with David Weir winning the men’s wheelchair race and Shelly Woods taking the women’s wheelchair crown.
Kenya’s Mary Keitany won the women’s elite race in a time of 1hr 7min and 32 seconds.
Last year it became the first mass participation run in the world to have its one millionth competitor cross the line.