Tributes have been paid to Geoff Hill, the former editor of ITV News, who has died at the age of 52.
The highly respected journalist was hailed as a “giant” of the industry who backed his colleagues to the hilt and loved to be around breaking news stories.
“My friend and boss Geoff Hill has died after years of suffering from leukaemia. He was a brilliant editor at ITV News,” said ITV’s political editor, Robert Peston. “He backed me and I will always be in his debt.
“More importantly, he was generous, kind, fun. Like so many whom he inspired, I am devastated. Sincerest condolences to his family and all who loved him.”
In June Hill was offered the support of his beloved Crystal Palace FC, inviting his brothers-in-law to start a fundraising run from the club’s Selhurst Park ground. Lee Roberts and Jordan Smith’s Palace to Paris campaign involved running the distance between the two national capitals on south London’s streets.
The club also hosted an article Hill wrote about his diagnosis with blood cancer. On Thursday, Palace legend Mark Bright, who had backed the campaign, offered his condolences to Hill’s family.
His former employer, ITN, remembered him as a talented and respected journalist of longstanding. “This is a desperately sad day for all of us at ITN,” said the chief executive, Deborah Turness. “Geoff was a giant in our industry, a journalist’s journalist, who simply adored the competitive adrenaline of television news, and never forgot why what we do really matters.
“A force of nature, he loved nothing more than to be at the heart of a breaking news story, leading his team from the front. He was an exceptional leader and editor, as well as a much-loved friend and mentor to so many. He will be deeply missed.”
A former colleague, Rachel Younger, called him “brilliant [and] irreplaceable”, adding that he was also a “great champion of women journalists”.
ITN said that, during his tenure at ITV News, Hill “led the newsroom through a period of profound change, reporting the election results of 2015 and 2017, the Scottish referendum and the EU referendum of 2016 where he called the result in the gallery, relayed live to the nation by Tom Bradby on the network’s overnight programme”.
It added: “He was likewise at the helm to oversee the programmes to announce the results of the US election and Donald Trump’s win, in addition to the changes to Evening News and News at Ten.”
Hill is survived by his wife, Nat Hill, and his three children, Emily, Olivia and Alfie.