Fairfax Media’s football columnist Michael Cockerill has died at the age of 56 after an illness.
Cockerill was a passionate player, supporter and commentator on Australian football (soccer) since his teens years.
In a statement, Sydney Morning Herald editor Lisa Davies and The Age editor Alex Lavelle said Cockerill was a tireless champion for the game in Australia.
“The respect in which he was held by his colleagues and peers was a measure of his generous spirit and dedication to his profession,” the statement read.
“He was the authoritative voice of football in the Sydney Morning Herald. He will be missed by all who worked with him.”
Tributes for Cockerill have come from all quarters of the game, including SBS, The Australian, Fox Sports and Football Australia.
SBS’s Craig Foster said: “Very sorry to hear about Mike Cockerill just now. Thoughts with his loved ones. Great servant to the game over many decades. Sad times.”
The Australian’s Ray Gatt said: “Terrible news regarding Mike Cockerill. Wonderful journalist, great man. Superb football man. We’ve lost a giant of journalism.”
While a spokesperson for Football Australia tweeted: “We are shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Michael Cockerill. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Vale.”