Legendary gossip columnist Nigel Dempster has died after a long illness, the Daily Mail said.
Dempster, who was 65, was credited with creating the modern newspaper gossip column.
Paul Dacre, editor-in-chief of Associated Newspapers and editor of the Daily Mail, said: “Nigel was not only a treasured friend and a brilliant colleague, but also one of the best diary writers Fleet Street has ever known.
“His scoops were the stuff of legend and his zest for life inexhaustible. He liked nothing more than to deflate the egos of the idle rich and puncture the pomposity of the powerful.
“It made him one of the most talked-about figures Fleet Street has ever seen. We will all miss him.”
Dempster practised the art of diary writing for four decades. Starting out as a debs’ delight in the early 1960s he then teamed up with his friend, the photographer Lord Lichfield, to cover the premier social events of the time, first for the Daily Express and then with the Daily Mail, which he joined in 1971.
The late Sir David English, creator of the modern Mail, spotted the potential of the quick-talking, charismatic Dempster and gave him his own diary page.
He was married twice, first to Countess Emma Magdalen de Bendern, a daughter of Count John Gerard de Bendern.
His second marriage in 1977 was to Lady Camilla Osborne, daughter of the 11th Duke of Leeds.
By his second marriage, Dempster had a stepdaughter, Emily Kate Godolphin Harris and a daughter, Louisa Beatrix.