Times racing correspondent Alan Lee died on Saturday aged 61.
Staff were informed of the news yesterday by group managing editor Craig Tregurtha.
Lee joined the newspaper as cricket correspondent in 1988.
He moved to become racing correspondent in 1999 and was named sports writer of the year in 2001. Lee was named racing journalist of the year on three occasions.
Tregurtha said: "Alan wrote beautifully on both sports, combining his deep passions and immense expertise with an extraordinary work ethic.
"He will be greatly missed by everyone who had the pleasure and the privilege to work alongside him."
The Racing Post quotes Times racing editor Rob Wright as saying: "Alan was a joy to work with over the past 16 years. He had a God-given talent for writing and I've never known anyone who could match his ability to produce words of such high quality on a breaking story so quickly, so accurately and to perfect length.
"My thoughts, and those of everyone on The Times sports desk with whom he worked, are with his family."
Tregurtha said Lee underwent heart surgery on 6 November and his recovery was thought to have been going well before his death on Saturday.
Picture provided by The Times