Former Daily Mirror editor managing editor Eugene Duffy has died of cancer aged 60.
Duffy left the Mirror in 2014 and has spent the last five years as managing editor of Tribune Media in the Bahamas.
Duffy began working at the Mirror in 1986 and went on to hold the posts of night news editor, news editor, assistant editor as well as managing editor.
Former Mirror editor Richard Wallace said: “Eugene was a great journalist, a superb news editor and a peerless managing editor. He guided me and the rest of the business through seismic changes in the print industry which meant a rolling programme of restructuring, redundancies and cutbacks. The irony was not lost on either of us when we too became surplus to the Mirror’s requirements.
“Despite his phlegmatic nature, Eugene was deeply affected by the relentless bad news he had to deliver to journalists, many of them personal friends. I once found him in his office in tears, a glimpse of the extraordinary burden he carried as a managing editor during such turbulent times. The loyalty and friendship he showed me and others is something we all treasure.
“It was thrilling to see him back on the front lines of journalism as managing editor of The Tribune in the Bahamas where he reaffirmed his credentials as a top drawer journalist.
“Gill was the great love of his life, just ahead of his fanaticism for Northern Soul. After a couple of beers it was not unusual to see Eugene discreetly doing the odd side step and shuffle.
“He always had the moves, just like everything else he did in life. A very good man has been taken far too early'”
Current Mirror editor Alison Phillips said: “Eugene was the backbone of the paper. He was a huge character who was a boss, mentor and friend to so many of us over the years. He will be very sadly missed.”
Former Mirror editor Piers Morgan said: “Eugene was the best kind of journalist – tenacious, meticulous, ferociously hard-working, and determined to hold power to honest account.
“He was also a kind, generous, funny and loyal man. The Mirror family has lost a legend, far too young.”
Mark Ellis, a former Mirror journalist who was a close friend for 45 years, said: “Eugene was a superb journalist with an exceptional talent for getting the best out of reporters.
“Everyone wanted to work for him as he was such a decent bloke. He was a devoted family man and had a generosity of spirit and gift of friendship that made him a brilliant and loyal friend to so many.”
Former Sunday Mirror editor Paul Henderson said: “Eugene loved the Mirror for its unfailing and robust support of its readers through campaigns to improve lives and investigative journalism holding power to account.
“He was a huge, straight-talking figure on the editorial floor.
“He never ducked important decisions, built an award-winning news reporting team and became a close friend to many journalists he encouraged to reach greater heights of professionalism. But Eugene’s greatest priority in life was his family.”
Daily Express editor Gary Jones, a former Mirror colleague, said: “Eugene was a colossus in the newspaper world, whose passion for storytelling was immense. He truly wanted to make the world a better place.”
Duffy was born and educated in Stafford. He had three brothers and a sister, Carol Ann Duffy, a former Poet Laureate.
He left school and started work at the Staffordshire Newsletter and always said his ambition was to “become editor of the Daily Mirror”.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog