International

Robert Fisk, veteran UK journalist, dies aged 74

Robert Fisk was best known for his coverage of the Middle East, where he began reporting from in the 1970s

Veteran foreign correspondent Robert Fisk has died of a suspected stroke at the age of 74.

He had been admitted to St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin after falling ill at his home on Friday, and died shortly afterwards, the Irish Times reported.

Fisk won numerous awards for his reporting on the Middle East, starting from the 1970s.

But he also drew controversy for his sharp criticism of the US and Israel, and of Western foreign policy.

Covering wars in the Balkans, Middle East and North Africa for UK newspapers over five decades, Fisk was described by the New York Times, in 2005, as “probably the most famous foreign correspondent in Britain”.

Born in Maidstone, Kent in 1946, he later took Irish citizenship and had a home in Dalkey outside the capital Dublin.

Irish President Michael D Higgins has expressed his “great sadness” about Fisk’s death on Sunday.

“With his passing the world of journalism and informed commentary on the Middle East has lost one of its finest commentators,” he said in a statement.

After starting his career at the Sunday Express, Fisk moved to Belfast in 1972 to cover the Troubles as Northern Ireland correspondent for the Times. He became the paper’s Middle East correspondent in 1976.

Based in Beirut, he reported on the civil war in Lebanon, as well as the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the Soviet war in Afghanistan and the Iran-Iraq War.

He resigned from the Times in 1989 after a dispute with the owner Rupert Murdoch and moved to the Independent, where he worked for the remainder of his career.

In the 1990s he interviewed Osama Bin Laden three times for the paper. He described him as a “shy man” and looking “every inch the mountain warrior of mujahedin legend” in their first interview in 1993.