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AA Gill: 'Giant among journalists' dies after cancer battle

Restaurant critic AA Gill, described as "a giant among journalists", has died after a short battle with cancer. He was 62.

Best known for his work in The Sunday Times, he was both feared and adored by those in the hospitality industry.

He revealed his illness in an interview three weeks ago, saying he had the "full English" of cancers.

The father-of-four died on Saturday morning, with his final column due to appear in the newspaper on Sunday.

Announcing the death in a memo to staff, editor Martin Ivens said: "It is with profound sadness that I must tell you that our much-loved colleague Adrian Gill died this morning.

"Adrian was stoical about his illness, but the suddenness of his death has shocked us all.

"Characteristically he has had the last word, writing an outstanding article about coming to terms with his cancer in tomorrow's Sunday Times Magazine.

"He was the heart and soul of the paper. His wit was incomparable, his writing was dazzling and fearless, his intelligence was matched by compassion.

"Adrian was a giant among journalists. He was also our friend. We will miss him."

During the interview last month, Gill said his diagnosis was prompted by concerns from family members about his rapid weight loss - but resulted in his proposal to long-term partner Nicola Formby, referred to in restaurant columns as "The Blonde".

Journalists and colleagues paid moving tributes to Gill, with Financial Times editor Lionel Barber hailing him as the " king of irreverent critics".

John Witherow, editor of The Sunday Times from 1994-2012, said: "It's a cliche to say writers are extraordinary or unique, but in Adrian's case, that was true. In all the years I was editor of The Sunday Times, he never once produced a boring sentence or a phrase that did not shine."

Jay Rayner, The Observer's restaurant critic, wrote on Twitter: "So sorry to hear about the death of AA Gill. He was a controversialist, sometimes outrageously so, but a kind man and a brilliant writer," while Tim Shipman, political editor of the Sunday Times, said: " AA Gill, the writer who first made me buy The Sunday Times, the best of us for 30 years, has died. Very sombre mood in the office."

Gill was known for dictating his copy over the telephone due to his dyslexia, composing his memoir Pour Me: A Life in the same fashion.

Gill described himself as an alcoholic who had been sober since he was 30, although he would drink wine at the altar when taking communion "once or twice a year".

He leaves nine-year-old twins, Isaac (also known as Beetle) and Edith, with Ms Formby, and two grown-up children - Flora and Alasdair - from his marriage to Amber Rudd, now the Home Secretary. He had also previously been married to the writer Cressida Connolly.

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