John Cole: Prime Minister leads the tributes to 'titan of journalism'
Former BBC political editor John Cole has been hailed as "a titan of journalism" and a "source of pride for Northern Ireland".
The Belfast-born broadcaster died at his home in England surrounded by his family. He was 85.
Mr Cole, who began his career with the Belfast Telegraph in 1945, is survived by wife Madge, their four sons – Donald, Patrick, David and Michael – and nine grandchildren. In a statement they said they "miss him terribly".
"While many people will remember John for his journalism and broadcasting, for us he was the most loving, funny and devoted husband, father and grandfather."
One of the many touching tributes came from David Cameron.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said he was "deeply saddened" at the loss of a man who had "contributed so much to British public life".
Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "My generation grew up watching John Cole. He conveyed the drama and importance of politics."
Sir John Major, former Prime Minister, said: "John Cole was one of the finest political correspondents of my lifetime, and a real credit to his profession. When John spoke, everyone listened."
Current BBC political editor Nick Robinson said Mr Cole "shaped the way all in my trade do our jobs".
Ulster Unionist leader and former journalist Mike Nesbitt said Mr Cole had inspired him.
"It was always a source of pride for many in Northern Ireland that an Ulsterman reached the top of his profession on a UK stage," he said.
SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell described Mr Cole as "the father figure of political journalism".
He added: "He had a good life, full of achievement but I am still sad to lose such a titan of journalism and his legacy will remain for a long, long time."