ONE of the giants of Irish media, Sunday Independent editor Aengus Fanning, passed away today.
Tributes poured in for the journalist who made the newspaper the most popular in Ireland and a must read every weekend.
The 69-year-old died after a short illness. He leaves behind his wife Anne and three sons.
Aengus was Ireland’s longest serving editor and leaves a major gap in the Irish media landscape.
“Aengus truly was one of a kind, possibly the greatest and most instinctively brilliant editor that Irish journalism has ever produced,” said Independent News and Media CEO Gavin O'Reilly.
“Not only was he absolutely fearless but he had an innate ability to read and understand both the aspirations and fears of the Irish people.”
A native of Tralee, Co Kerry, Mr Fanning joined Independent Newspapers in the late 1960s as a general reporter.He was appointed editor of the Sunday Independent 28 years ago, leading the paper to unprecedented success.
During his time in charge, the paper broke many huge stories, but perhaps the biggest story involved the paper itself and the murder of its high-profile crime correspondent Veronica Guerin.
Chief Executive of INM Ireland, Joe Webb, said: “Today is a very sombre day for the Sunday Independent and the greater INM family as we have lost a talismanic editorial leader, a consummate journalist with his finger always on the pulse of public opinion and attitudes – one of our greatest captains.
“He was a source of great inspiration to all who had the pleasure of working with him, but most of all we mourn the loss of a great friend. Our thoughts are with Anne, his boys and his family.”
Editor of the Herald, Stephen Rae, said: “Aengus was a great mentor, always encouraging and incisive. He had a really appealing character made up of very many different aspects: the musician, the Gaelic footballer, the rugby player, the journalist, the humanitarian and, most of all, the proud Kerry and Tralee man.
“His was a towering personality at Independent Newspapers where we’ll really miss Aengus’ strength and editorial leadership.”A close pal added: “Aengus was like an Irish chieftain.”
Mr Fanning was the country's longest serving newspaper editor, having headed up the Sunday Independent for 28 years.
He is survived by his wife Anne Harris, deputy editor of the Sunday Independent and his three sons, Dion, Evan and Stephen. He was predeceased by his first wife, Mary O’Brien.