Restaurant critic AA Gill has died just weeks after announcing he was suffering from an ’embarrassment of cancer’.
The Sunday Times confirmed the 62-year-old died this morning, three weeks after he confirmed he was suffering from the ‘full English’ of cancers.
Gill had written for the newspaper since 1993 and his final column will be published tomorrow.
Restaurant critic AA Gill, pictured with his long-term partner Nicola Formby, who has died just weeks after announcing he was suffering from an ’embarrassment of cancer’. He is pictured early last month The Sunday Times confirmed the death of the 62-year-old, three weeks after he confirmed he was suffering from the ‘full English’ of cancers
The writer was diagnosed recently after concerns from his family on a summer holiday about his rapid weight loss.
The father-of-four said the disease had spread to several parts of his body, restricting his ability to exercise and travel during treatment.
He also recently revealed how the illness prompted him to propose to his partner of 23 years, former model Nicola Formby, whom he affectionately refers to as ‘The Blonde’ in his restaurant reviews.
The writer was diagnosed recently after concerns from his family on a summer holiday about his rapid weight loss
Speaking at the time of his diagnosis, the columnist, who was previously married to Home Secretary Amber Rudd during the 1990s, said: ‘I’ve got an embarrassment of cancer, the full English.
‘There is barely a morsel of offal that is not included. I have a trucker’s gut-buster, gimpy, malevolent, meaty malignancy.’
His death was confirmed in a statement sent to Sunday Times staff today by the newspaper’s editor Martin Ivens.
It said: ‘It is with profound sadness that I must tell you that our much-loved colleague Adrian Gill died this morning.
‘Adrian was stoical about his illness, but the suddenness of his death has shocked us all.
‘Characteristically he has had the last word, writing an outstanding article about coming to terms with his cancer in tomorrow’s Sunday Times Magazine.
‘He was the heart and soul of the paper. His wit was incomparable, his writing was dazzling and fearless, his intelligence was matched by compassion.
‘Adrian was a giant among journalists. He was also our friend. We will miss him.’
In an interview last month, the journalist – whose brother Nick, a Michelin-starred chef, went missing in 1998 and hasn’t been heard of since – said he had no regrets about the diagnosis.
He said: ‘I realise I don’t have a bucket list; I don’t feel I’ve been cheated of anything.
‘I’d like to have gone to Timbuktu, and there are places I will be sorry not to see again.
‘But actually, because of the nature of my life and the nature of what happened to me in my early life – my addiction, I know I have been very lucky.
Since the news of his death broke, journalists and colleagues also paid moving tributes to Gill
‘I gave up [alcohol] when I was still quite young, so it was like being offered the next life. It was the real Willy Wonka golden ticket, I got a really good deal.
‘And at the last minute I found something I could do. Somebody said: why don’t you watch television, eat good food and travel and then write about it? And, as lives go, that’s pretty good.’
Mr Gill was born in Edinburgh in 1954 to English parents and was privately educated in Hertfordshire before later attending Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.
However, by the time he reached his 30s he gave up his art career and alcohol in favour of writing art reviews for magazines while working in restaurants and teaching cookery.
Despite his self-professed dyslexia, he went on to work for society magazine Tatler before moving to the Sunday Tumes in 1993.
His first wife was author Cressida Connolly, before he married the now home secretary Amber Rudd before the pair divorced in 1995.
The 62-year-old, also leaves behind four children, Flora, Alasdair, (from his marriage to Ms Rudd), and nine -year-old twins Isaac Mungo and Edith Lara.
Mr Gill had recently been undergoing treatment at Charing Cross Hospital in London after shunning private care in favour of the NHS.
He added: ‘My father would say he didn’t want to die in a trench, and I don’t want to die in a trench in Harley Street.’
And since the news of his death broke, journalists and colleagues and others paid moving tributes to Gill.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote: ‘Very sad to hear the news about the passing of the brilliant AA Gill. An outstanding writer & critic.’
Sky News host Kay Burley said: ‘Supreme restaurant critic but this is how I will remember AA Gill. Judging @macmillancancer Westminster dog show. #doglover RIP.’
While former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil said he was ‘consumed with sadness and anger’ at the death of his friend.
Describing it as ‘unfair’, Mr Neil said his friend was ‘taken from us far too soon’.
Gill was known for dictating his copy over the telephone, composing his memoir Pour Me: A Life in the same fashion.
His columns were full of trademark wit and cynicism, who was both feared and adored in the industry.
Gill described himself as an alcoholic who had been sober since he was 30, although he would drink wine at the altar when taking communion ‘once or twice a year’.
He also suffered with dyslexia. He once said: ‘Dyslexics learn charm at school. You need it to get by. My son Beetle is quite dyslexic and he has more charm than an entire finishing school….’