England manager Roy Hodgson last night led the tributes to Danny Fullbrook, the chief football writer of the Daily Star who has died from cancer at the age of 40.
Fullbrook was well known to fans and players both as a writer and as a regular and forthright guest on TV football programmes.
Hodgson, who knew him well after Fullbrook spent time covering Fulham - the club he supported - during his time in charge at Craven Cottage, said: "On behalf of the England team and the FA, we'd like to pass on the deepest condolences to the family of Danny Fullbrook who sadly died during the night after bravely fighting his illness.
"I know that many of the room were big colleagues of his and respected him very much for the excellent journalist he was. I also got to know him because he covered the Fulham games.
"We would like to pass on the deepest sympathies to the family."
England captain Steven Gerrard added: "I got to know Danny quite well. I did a column with him and he was a very nice and genuine guy and I'd like to echo what the manager said and pass on my sympathies and condolences to Danny's family."
Fullbrook, from Staines, attended Hull University and began his journalism career at the Hull Daily Mail, where he covered Hull City, before moving to report on midlands football for the Birmingham Evening Mail and then the Daily Star.
He moved to London to work for the Sunday Mirror before returning to the Daily Star in 2000 as chief football writer. Aged 28, he was by some years the youngest in such a position on any Fleet Street newspaper, and he made an immediate impact.
He was well known to the game's biggest names, and David Beckham and Frank Lampard both contacted him during his illness to offer their support.
Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand was among those expressing their sadness at Fullbrook's death.
Ferdinand wrote on Twitter: "RIP Danny Fullbrook, thoughts are with his family at this difficult time."
Fullbrook co-wrote a number of books on football, including on his beloved Fulham's first season in the Premier League.
Adrian Bevington, the managing director of Club England, said: "On behalf of the FA and everyone in the England set-up, including the players, we would like to express our sadness and deepest sympathy on learning that Danny has passed away.
"Our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time. He was a very well-respected individual and a real character around the football media circuit who will be greatly missed by everybody.
"To lose someone so young is the saddest part of this."