ITV Granada TV presenter Tony Morris has died aged 57 with his daughters by his side after he was diagnosed with kidney cancer last year.
Morris had presented ITV’s regional news programme in the North West, for 17 years.
He passed away at Bury Hospice on Saturday with his daughters, Natalie and Rebecca, at his side, ITV said.
Paying tribute, co-presenter Lucy Meacock said: ‘He was without doubt one of the most humble, kind and funny people I have ever met, and he would often make me laugh till my sides ached.
‘I am so very, very sad and my heart goes out to his daughters Nat and Becky.
‘A smile from Tony Morris always brightened everyone’s day and certainly brightened up the whole of the North West for 17 years.’
She described him as a ‘great observer of people and a great listener’ who would ‘always coax the best interviews out of people and never shy away from a direct question’.
His daughter Natalie shared a touching tribute, calling her father her ‘best friend’.
She tweeted: ‘We lost our incredible dad on Saturday morning.
‘He was more than a parent, he was also our best friend. We are utterly heartbroken, but so grateful for the time we had with him.’
Lucy West, Granada’s head of news, said: ‘Tony was a remarkable man.
‘First and foremost he was an amazing dad to his two daughters and our thoughts are with his family.
‘A brilliant presenter and journalist who could disarm the most challenging of guests.
‘Tony led our viewers through some of the darkest of days, yet he was always able to offer some reassurance and warmth.’
Away from the newsroom, Morris was a diversity champion for ITV and was closely involved with organisations working with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds as a mentor.
He was also a supporter of several charities including the Anthony Walker Foundation set up in memory of the black teenager who was murdered in 2005.
Morris helped Granada Reports become the first regional news programme to win a BAFTA, presenting with Meacock the 2007 News Coverage winner about the Morecambe Bay Cockle Picking tragedy.
A second BAFTA followed in 2013 for coverage of the Independent Panel into the Hillsborough Disaster.
In the years following, he continued to provide essential coverage of major events, anchoring Granada Reports in the aftermath of the 2017 Manchester Bombing and on the publication of the Kirkup report into baby deaths at Furness General Hospital.
He grew up in Portsmouth, Hampshire, where he spent much of his childhood in foster care, ITV said.
After leaving school, he joined the RAF, before his lifelong love of music drew him first into DJing then to the BBC – as a local radio trainee.
‘He arrived on the TV screen at short notice when a newsreader was unable to get to the studio. Tony, then working as a producer, was asked to put on a tie and present the news,’ shared the broadcaster.
After that, he went on to report and present on BBC’s North West Tonight programme before making the move to Granada in 2003.
A special tribute to Morris will be aired on Granada Reports on Monday at 6pm.