Page last updated at 12:20 GMT, Thursday, 9 October 2008 13:20 UK

Former Sky News broadcaster dies

Bob Friend
Bob Friend began his broadcast career with the BBC

Presenter Bob Friend, one of the faces who launched Sky News, has died after suffering from a brain tumour.

Mr Friend, 70, joined the satellite broadcaster for its launch in 1989 after a 20-year career with the BBC.

Mr Friend was described by News Corporation chief executive Rupert Murdoch as "a distinguished journalist and an admired broadcaster".

Mr Murdoch said: "Bob was a tireless worker and true to form he put up a good fight."

In a statement, Sky said: "Bob Friend was one of Britain's longest-serving and much-loved presenters."

The presenter had several cameo roles as a newscaster in films including Independence Day and Mission Impossible.

BBC director general Mark Thompson, who worked alongside Mr Friend for the corporation in New York, called him "a buccaneer, a complete one off and one of the people who taught me much of what I know about journalism".

MBE honour

Mr Friend started as a cub reporter aged 15 on the Tunbridge Wells Advertiser.

After nine years in newspapers, his BBC career began in 1969 on Radio 4's Today programme.

He reported from Northern Ireland for four years, witnessing the start of the Troubles, and was posted to Australia in 1973 after a short posting in Vietnam.

Mr Friend later spent five years in Japan as Tokyo correspondent, before moving to the US as New York correspondent for Breakfast Time.

He returned to Britain for the launch of Sky News in 1989 and celebrated his 50th year in journalism in 2003 - a year which also saw him made an MBE for services to broadcasting.

His final shift on air for Sky News was in October 2003.

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