Lynda Lee-Potter, whose weekly Daily Mail column was read by millions, has died aged 69 from a brain tumour.
Yesterday, her usual page on the paper contained the footnote "Lynda Lee-Potter will return soon" - a note of optimism which she requested during her illness. Paul Dacre, editor-in-chief of the Daily Mail, paid tribute to her 32 years' service.
He said: "Lynda's genius was in putting into simple words what millions of ordinary people were thinking - articulating, without talking down to them, not only their dreams but also their anger and frustration.
"Bold enough to speak her mind, brave enough to take on the powerful, her ultimate loyalty was to those millions without a platform of their own, people whom she loved and with whom she identified.
"An unashamed optimist, Lynda had an unshakeable faith in the decency of the quiet British majority.'' Mrs Lee-Potter has been described as "the Voice of Middle England" and "the First Lady of Fleet Street".
She was born Lynda Higginson on 2 May 1935, the daughter of a mining family in Lancashire. In her teens, she moved to London to study drama - telling friends that she lost her Lancashire accent on the train down. She married Jeremy Lee-Potter, a medical student and son of an air marshal, in 1957. Soon afterwards the couple went to live in Aden in the Middle East where Mr Lee-Potter served in the RAF.
She began writing a column for the Aden Chronicle and after their return to London, was hired as a feature writer for the Daily Mail.
She became an institution at Northcliffe House. When her column did not appear in the summer, readers called to ask when it was returning.
Her three children - daughters Charlie and Emma and son Adam - have all followed their mother into journalism.Reuse content