Independent on Sunday travel editor Kate Simon said she has lost her best writer following the sudden death of her predecessor Jeremy Atiyah.
The 42-year-old travel writer was walking in Umbria last week when he collapsed and died. He had recently bought a house in Italy.
Atiyah was appointed first travel editor of The Independent on Sunday by in 1997 after Independent travel editor Simon Calder had been impressed with his work on the Rough Guide series of travel books.
Calder said: "Despite having no formal training as a journalist, he created and managed an outstanding travel section."
Atiyah left the IoS in 2000 to resume his travelling and lead a more "nomadic" lifestyle, but he continued to contribute pieces to the paper.
Calder described him as "a man who wrought miracles with words — a romantic who rose above these unromantic times".
Kate Simon said: "He was immensely interesting, while at the same time being interested in you. He was a fantastic writer and probably not recognised as much as he should have been.
"He was able to not just describe a place, but give you a real feeling of a place. He was our best writer in the section and he’ll be an immense loss, but much more of a loss as a friend than a colleague."