The efficiency droop of light emitting diodes (LEDs) with increasing current density limits the amount of light emitted per wafer area. Since low current densities are required for high efficiency operation, many LED die are needed for high power white light illumination systems. In contrast, the carrier density of laser diodes (LDs) clamps at threshold, so the efficiency of LDs does not droop above threshold and high efficiencies can be achieved at very high current densities. The use of a high power blue GaN-based LD coupled with a single crystal Ce-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG:Ce) sample was investigated for white light illumination applications. Under CW operation, a single phosphor-converted LD (pc-LD) die produced a peak luminous efficacy of 86.7 lm/W at 1.4 A and 4.24 V and a peak luminous flux of 1100 lm at 3.0 A and 4.85 V with a luminous efficacy of 75.6 lm/W. Simulations of a pc-LD confirm that the single crystal YAG:Ce sample did not experience thermal quenching at peak LD operating efficiency. These results show that a single pc-LD die is capable of emitting enough luminous flux for use in a high power white light illumination system.