Tributes have been paid to Terry Kelly, pictured left, who died in his sleep at his home in Jarrow last week.
Terry, who had worked at the Gazette since the early 1980s, had been off sick from the newspaper for the past 14 months while he fought a virus which had attacked his lungs and seen him endure months in various hospitals.
A family spokesman told the Gazette: “Terry was a much-loved husband, father and brother. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.”
Jarrow-born Terry studied an English literature degree at Sunderland Polytechnic before later completing an MA in the subject at Newcastle University. He then landed his first role in journalism at the Blyth Post.
Later moving to the Gazette, Terry covered the Jarrow and Hebburn areas for the paper as well as reporting on business and industry.
Joy Yates, Shields Gazette editorial director, said: “Terry was one of the smartest, wittiest, kindest colleagues you could ever wish to meet. It has been a huge honour and privilege to work with him.
“He was hugely respected by his colleagues and all the Gazette readers he worked with in our South Tyneside community. Our thoughts are with his wife Val and family.”
Former colleague Huw Lewis added: “Nothing would prise Terry away from his beloved Jarrow, and that’s what was so great about the man.
“He was a pleasure to deal with – one of the ‘old-school’ reporters who knew his patch backwards and was always accurate, fair and measured in his dealings. He was also great to bump into on a night out.
“I can’t put it better than a fellow I heard in a focus group once say ‘In Jarrow, the Gazette IS Terry Kelly’.”
As well as Val, Terry is also survived by 26-year-old daughter Kate.