Respected 'Guardian' columnist Hugo Young dies, aged 64

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The Independent Online

Tony Blair led tributes yesterday to Hugo Young, the political commentator and author, who died on Monday, aged 64.

Mr Young was a columnist on The Guardian and chairman of the Scott Trust, which owns The Guardian and The Observer. He also wrote One of Us, a biography of Margaret Thatcher.

Mr Blair described him as a man of "exceptional ability and integrity". He said: "I was very sad to learn of Hugo Young's death. He was someone ... whose journalism was always worth reading. He had the capacity to think originally, argue compellingly and carry conviction. And he was a genuinely nice human being."

Charles Kennedy, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: "Hugo Young was a journalist and commentator of outstanding calibre. His loss is a great one."

Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, said: "Hugo was, simply, a towering figure in British journalism. His twice-weekly Guardian column was, over almost 20 years, the sharpest, best informed and most humane political column in any newspaper in this country. He was also a wise, tireless and enlightened chair of the Scott Trust. To lose him at the peak of his powers is a shattering blow for us and for his family."

Mr Young, who had been suffering from cancer and wrote his last column a week ago, was a strong critic of Mr Blair and George Bush over the Iraq conflict.

He began his career in journalism on the Yorkshire Post, joining The Sunday Times in 1965. He left The Sunday Times for The Guardian in 1984 after falling out with the editor, Andrew Neil.

Mr Young leaves a wife, the artist Lucy Waring, and one son and three daughters from his first marriage.