Daily Mirror columnist Sue Carroll died peacefully at home on Christmas night at the age of 58, some 18-months are being diagnosed with cancer.
Carroll, who was born in Newcastle, moved to London in the 1970s and wrote for Woman magazine and newspapers including The Sun and the News of the World before joining the Mirror.
She wrote a weekly column in the Mirror for 13 years as well as features and interviews and was described as “part of the heart and soul” of the newspaper by editor Richard Wallace.
Carroll also made regular appearances on national radio and TV, expressing forthright views on issues from feckless parents to political correctness.
Wallace said: “Although we knew this moment would come, it is still a great shock. Sue had faced her long and painful illness with enviable fortitude.
“Until the final few days she was still doing what she loved the most: reading the papers and giving her inimitable thoughts on the world around us – with, of course, the odd no-nonsense rant thrown in.
“Sue was part of the heart and soul of the Daily Mirror – and had a direct line to our readers. But she was also very close to some of us personally. So first and foremost we grieve a great friend.”
Rachael Bletchly, writing a tribute in today’s Mirror, said: ‘Sue Carroll always said she had ‘the hide of a rhino and the claws of a tiger’.
‘But there was so much more than that to the Daily Mirror columnist who died on Christmas Day, aged only 58.
‘She was also warm, funny, awe-inspiringly feisty and trenchant in her view of anyone she considered to be pretentious, hypocritical or egotistical.
‘It says it all that her morning cup of strong black coffee was always supped from a mug bearing the words ‘Everyone is entitled to my opinion’.”
A host of leading public figures and journalists have paid tribute to Carroll in today’s Mirror.
They include actress Barbara Windsor who said: ‘Sue was not only one of the best journalists in this country, but she had also become a friend to both me and my husband.
‘We shall miss Sue, and journalism is an emptier place without her. And on top of that, she was a great bird. I will always remember the wonderful times we spent at The Pride of Britain Awards, where we always shared a table.’
Former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan said: ‘I’ve known few newspaper journalists who had such a natural affinity with the readers as Sue Carroll.
‘She shared their hopes, fears, dreams and concerns. She did so with warmth, intelligence, wit and a heart of gold. She fought her illness in the same valiant, courageous and humorous way she fought the normal travails of life.
‘And the battle was notable for the complete lack of self-pity.
‘I have many memories of dining, partying, arguing, crying, and working with Sue. But the thing I will remember most is her laugh.
‘A wonderfully enthusiastic, uproarious, raucous and infectious laugh. Sue Carroll, above all else, liked to laugh. And because of that, she was always fantastically good fun to be around.”
Former Deputy PM John Prescott was also quoted by the Mirror, he said: ‘Sue was a really warm, northern woman whose humour, courage, sympathy and insight produced wonderful journalism.
‘She was a courageous journalist who found stories by talking to people.”
Sun editor Dominic Mohan told the paper: ‘Sue Carroll was one of the finest journalists of her generation. Personally, I will always remember how supportive and influential she was to me and a number of colleagues when we first started at The Sun. She will be sadly missed across Fleet Street, but never forgotten.”
Sun columnist Jane Moore said that Sue had two final wishes – to die peacefully and surrounded by her friends. She told the Mirror: ‘She achieved both. Her home up until Christmas Eve was like Piccadilly Circus. She had so many friends who all wanted to see her.
“She was peaceful in the end.”