Andy, pictured, left his job as deputy editor following a company restructure last January and had been working in PR before the cancer struck.
Andy Parker enjoyed his first stint with the Mail in the 1970s, returning in 1982 for a near 30-year stretch.
He died at the Royal Derby Hospital on New Year’s Eve, having spent Christmas at home in Newton Solney, Derbyshire, with wife Sally and children Emma, 25, and Harry, 19.
Jason Davies, the Mail’s former news editor and a close friend, said: “Andy started off as my mentor and soon became a great friend. So many reporters learned so much from him and he truly was a newsroom legend.
“He was uncompromising and forthright but passionate about everything to do with Burton and South Derbyshire, which earned him respect from people.
“The Burton Mail was in his blood. He really cared about the paper and always had its interests at heart.”
Former Mail editor Brian Vertigen described Andy as ‘a newspaper man through and through’ with a ‘great nose for news’ and praised his role in mentoring generations of young reporters.
Andy’s years with the Mail enabled him to indulge his twin passions of music and football, including covering his beloved Gresley Rovers Football Club and launching a series of CDs showcasing local music talent.
Jim Black, the paper’s former managing director said he was ‘a totally committed journalist’ who ‘became probably one of the best-known people in town’.
Steve Lowe, group editor-in-chief for Mail publisher Iliffe News and Media Central said: “Andy was a diligent, hard-working journalist committed to keeping people informed of all that was happening in their community.
“He gave many years to the Burton Mail and leaves behind friends and colleagues who will mourn his death and miss his dry humour. I am very sorry to hear of his death and my sympathies are with his family.”