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Former Guardian editor Preston dies at 79

Former Guardian editor Preston dies at 79
From BBC - January 7, 2018

The former editor of the Guardian, Peter Preston, has died aged 79.

Preston, who led the paper between 1975 and 1995 and later became an Observer columnist, died on Saturday after being diagnosed with a melanoma 10 years ago.

The Guardian's current editor Katharine Viner said he was a "brilliant editor" and a "supportive friend".

His son Ben, executive editor of the Sunday Times, said his father "died a good death" and "he was loved" until the end.

Preston first joined the Guardian in 1963, after training at the Liverpool Daily Post. His final column, published on New Year's Eve, focused on the challenges facing journalists "and their rough trade" in 2018.

He became the editor of the paper in 1975 and over the next two decades oversaw a number of exclusive stories about politicians' conduct.

Investigative journalism into defence procurement minister Jonathan Aitken led to allegations that he took bribes from Saudi arms dealers, which resulted in the Conservative MP's eventual imprisonment.

Preston, who was born in Leicestershire, turned his hand to fiction writing after leaving the editorship in 1995.

Piers Morgan, who began editing the News of the World while Preston was still editor of the Guardian, paid tribute to his peer.

He said it was "very sad news" and added he "respected his incisive opinions".

"[He was] a Fleet Street giant and lovely man who will be greatly missed by the newspaper industry."

New Statesman editor Jason Cowley said the 79-year-old was "an excellent and innovative editor who loved our trade".

Alan Rusbridger, Preston's successor at the Guardian, highlighted how he "worked tirelessly for journalists abroad".

'A gentle and effective editor'

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