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Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2006, 17:00 GMT
Writer Frank Johnson dies aged 63
Frank Johnson
Frank Johnson has been described as a "journalistic colossus"
Distinguished journalist Frank Johnson, former editor of The Spectator, has died aged 63 after battling cancer.

Johnson rose through the ranks of political journalism and was a comment writer for the Daily Telegraph.

The son of a pastry cook in London's East End, he began life in the press as a messenger at the Sunday Express.

Spectator editor Matthew d'Ancona paid tribute to Johnson's "wit and humour", describing the writer as a "colossus" who was "irreplaceable".

Mr d'Ancona said: "As a columnist, sketchwriter and editor, he showed that the most serious points are best made through wit and humour.

Greatly missed

"He had an awesome hinterland of reading and cultural knowledge, matched by his ready smile and infectious laughter."

Recently, Johnson acted as a judge in the Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year Awards and was planning to write another arts piece for the magazine.

Mr d'Ancona added: "Frank Johnson was a journalistic colossus and is truly irreplaceable. We will all miss him very much."

Johnson also worked for The Sun in 1969 as a political correspondent before becoming a parliamentary sketch writer for the Daily Telegraph and The Times.

Daily Telegraph editor Will Lewis said: "Frank Johnson was one of the funniest, sharpest and most brilliant writers ever to appear in The Daily Telegraph."

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