Page last updated at 14:19 GMT, Sunday, 10 January 2010

Sunday Mirror statement in full on Rupert Hamer's death

The Sunday Mirror's defence correspondent Rupert Hamer, 39, has been killed in an explosion in Afghanistan, along with a US marine and an Afghan soldier.

His colleague, photographer Philip Coburn, 43, is in a serious but stable condition.

Mr Hamer's editor, Tina Weaver, has released this statement:

Rupert believed that the only place to report a war was from the front line, and as our defence correspondent he wanted to be embedded with the US Marines at the start of their vital surge into southern Afghanistan.

He left on New Year's Eve with photographer Phil Coburn, determined to be there from the start. He was a seasoned, highly-regarded and brave journalist who had reported from both Iraq and Afghanistan on many occasions.

It was his fifth trip to Afghanistan, and he had forged friendships with a number of the soldiers serving out there.

One of his last acts was to organise a special Christmas newspaper produced solely for the troops packed with messages from loved ones which was flown out by the RAF three weeks ago.

He was a fine, fearless, and skilled writer who joined the paper 12 years ago.

Affectionately known as Corporal Hamer in the office, he was a gregarious figure, a wonderful friend who was hugely popular with his colleagues.

Above all he was devoted to his wife Helen and their three young children.

Our thoughts and condolences are with Helen, his father Nick, who he was so close to, and the children he was so proud of.

Of Mr Coburn, Ms Weaver said:

Phil is a veteran of conflicts in Iraq, Rwanda and Afghanistan who has been with the Sunday Mirror for eight years.

He is a consummate all-round journalist and brilliant photographer whose pictures grace any newspaper.

He and Rupert made a dedicated team, working together around the world, sacrificing personal comfort countless times to record the reality of wars.

We wish Phil a speedy recovery, and send our warmest wishes to his partner and family.

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