Colleagues past and present have paid tribute to a long-serving showbiz writer hailed as the “best known journalist” in his city.
He eventually found his niche as a showbiz writer, interviewing actors, pop stars and celebrities including The Beatles, Max Bygraves, Joan Collins and Dustin Hoffman.
John, who officially retired in 1998 but continued writing for the paper – now the Edinburgh Evening News – until March last year, died at peacefully at the city’s Western General Hospital on Thursday morning.
A host of current and former Evening News journalists have paid tribute to John who was described by one former editor as “the core of the paper’s identity.”
Former deputy editor Hamish Coghill said: “He was a great journalist, he knew what made a good story and he was not afraid to speak his mind.”
Journalist and fellow Hibs supporter Simon Pia, who worked with John for many years, said: “He was a bit of a legend and Edinburgh’s best-known journalist.
“I first met John in the press box at Easter Road. He had a pretty gruff exterior, but as you got to know the real guy underneath what might surprise people was you found a kind, sentimental and considerate man.”
Former Evening News editor John McLellan said: “He was utterly irascible, never boring and he was absolutely the core of the paper’s identity for decades.
“We did market research and when people were asked to name someone who writes for the Evening News everyone said John Gibson. In his heyday Gibson and the Evening News were interchangeable.
“He was the identity of the Evening News through the 1970s and 1980s.
“And despite his unswerving loyalty to Hibs, Hearts people loved him too. He never hid his allegiances, but he was none the worse for that.”
Born in Leith and educated at Leith Academy, John worked briefly as a gas poker maker at Brown Brothers before joining the Dispatch.
He met his partner, Linda Murray, at the paper in the 1980s when she was working there as a copytaker.
After his retirement, a room in the Evening News’ base at Orchard Brae House was named the Gibson Room in John’s honour.
Current editor-in-Chief Frank O’Donnell said: “If you met John once he was unforgettable. He was a journalist until the end, always chipping in with story ideas. He will be sadly missed.”