Award-winning journalist Ross Benson has died at his London home, aged 56.
Ross Benson who has died aged 56
Hours earlier, the Daily Mail writer had watched Chelsea's Champions League victory over Barcelona at Stamford Bridge, where he held a season ticket.
He enjoyed an acclaimed Fleet Street career and spent many years as a columnist for the Daily Express.
Daily Mail editor-in-chief Paul Dacre said Mr Benson "was a class act" and "a great foreign correspondent of the kind they just don't make any more".
Last year Mr Benson won the Edgar Wallace award for fine writing at the London Press Club Awards.
He first joined the Daily Mail as a reporter in 1967. In 1971 he moved to the Sunday Express and then on to the Daily Express, where he remained until 1997 when he returned to the Daily Mail.
Mr Dacre added: "Dashing, urbane, incredibly glamorous and, above all, utterly fearless, Ross's award-winning despatches for the Daily Mail from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts were the envy of his peers."
Former Daily Express editor Sir Nicholas Lloyd paid tribute to Benson and said he was "absolutely stunned" by his death.
"The one thing that distinguished him from most foreign correspondents was his ability to humanise whatever the conflict was and cut to how it affected the people on the ground. By humanising it, he brought it alive," he said.
Sir Nicholas added: "His death is a tragedy. The one consolation is that he died after seeing his beloved Chelsea win against Barcelona. He would have been very happy when he fell asleep last night."
Mr Benson was married to his third wife, Ingrid Seward. He leaves three children.