Award-winning journalist Michael Gordon has died after suffering a suspected heart attack during an ocean swim on Victoria’s Phillip Island.
The 62-year-old Fairfax Media writer was pulled from the water and brought to shore at Cowes about 10.30am Saturday but died at the scene despite efforts to revive him, The Age reported.
Gordon won a Walkley Award – one of the profession’s highest accolades – for most outstanding contribution to journalism in 2017, the year during which he left his long-term role as political editor.
He worked at the newspaper for a total of 37 years.
The Age described Gordon as “a giant of Australian journalism” and said he was one of the publication’s most loved, respected and lauded writers.
“A good friend and great mentor to so many,” Mr Turnbull posted on Twitter. “He left us far too soon.”
Opposition leader Bill Shorten said Gordon was simply “one of the good guys”.
“A passion for truth-telling, a champion for social justice, his every word was wielded for a cause,” Mr Shorten tweeted.
“I’ll miss reading him and talking to him immensely.”
In addition to his long tenure at Fairfax, Gordon was a former political editor of The Australian and US correspondent for The Herald.
Gordon wrote about his formative years as a cadet in a column published in June 2017, describing how securing the position at age 17 and when his father Harry was the editor of the rival Sun, now the Herald Sun, was viewed with suspicion by some.
He spent “long spells” on real estate, police rounds and the Trades Hall – the “perfect prelude to observing national affairs” – before moving to the press gallery in Canberra.
Former Prime Minister John Howard was named by Gordon as the catalyst for a focus on the plight of asylum seekers, one of many subjects he covered with passion.
As he left journalism at the same age his father did, Gordon said his overwhelming emotion was one of “immense gratitude”.