The veteran broadcaster Derek Jameson has died. His wife, Ellen, said the 82-year-old, who edited three national newspapers, had a heart attack at his home.
Jameson was born in poverty in London's East End where, without parents, he grew up in a home. He began work in Fleet Street as a messenger boy at the age of 14 and rose through the ranks.
He developed a reputation as a builder of circulation and, asked to launch the Daily Star the first new national tabloid for 75 years he took it to more than 1m copies within a year. He put on half a million readers at the Daily Express, which had languished at less than 2m when he joined it.
In 1984 he found himself broke and unemployed. Rupert Murdoch had fired him because of differences at the News of the World, and he lost a disastrous libel action against the BBC after Radio 4 called him "an East End boy made bad".
However it was the BBC, recognising his gifts as a communicator, that turned him into a celebrity with television series such as Do They Mean Us? and his breakfast show on Radio 2. He went on to present a chatshow for six years with his wife, establishing the largest late-night radio audience in Europe.
He told his story in his best-selling autobiography Touched by Angels. A second volume, Last of the Hot Metal Men, chronicled the dying days of the old Fleet Street.
Much of his fame rested on his gravelly Cockney voice, which he regarded as unique because it contained traces of Manchester, where he worked for eight years.
Gary Bones, who was a senior producer on the Radio 2 breakfast show with Jameson in the early 90s, said: "Derek was not only a unique broadcaster and Fleet Street legend but also a really nice, kind and generous man who always knew exactly how to tap into the mood of the nation at the time.
"I remember nothing more demonstrated his sensitive nature than when he broke down on air during his daily review of the papers while reading a story about a child with leukaemia. He will be greatly missed and our thoughts are with his wife."
Jameson leaves Ellen, his third wife, and four adult children.