Barry Dodd CBE was killed in a helicopter crash in Aldborough, near Boroughbridge, yesterday afternoon.
Formal identification is yet to take place but North Yorkshire Police earlier said Mr Dodd had been the pilot of the helicopter.
The news has prompted dozens of heartfelt tributes from businesses, political figures and organisations across Yorkshire.
His wife, Frances Dodd, said in a statement: "I am very sad to confirm the news that Barry was tragically killed in a flying accident yesterday.
"Barry was a wonderful man. He lived his life according to his values of honesty and integrity.
"He was intelligent, compassionate and visionary. He enjoyed great business success but just as important to him was his devotion to public service and helping others.
"He was particularly proud to serve as Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of North Yorkshire.
"More than anything however, he was a loving family man and I will miss him enormously.
"I will make no further comment and ask that my privacy be respected at this very sad time."
Speaking at the scene yesterday, North Yorkshire Police's Superintendent Dave Hannan said the helicopter was alight when emergency services arrived on the scene.
He confirmed there were no other people on board, adding: "We are working with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to establish what the cause of that crash was."
The AAIB said the Bell 206B helicopter, which took off from Husthwaite, in North Yorkshire, will be taken to a specialist facility in Farnborough, Hampshire, tomorrow for a detailed examination.
"Our inspectors have been working on site, speaking to witnesses and gathering other evidence," a spokesman said.
"We will publish a report on our findings when our investigation has concluded."