There is more terrible, tragic car accident news to absorb from this weekend.
Alexander Hitchen, managing editor, pictures at the New York Daily News, is on his way to Spain with his wife to collect the bodies of his parents. The elderly pair were hit by a car on Sunday while crossing a road in the resort town of Altea, where they own a home.
Brian Hitchen, an “ebullient and joyful” former Fleet Street newspaper editor who received a Commander of the British Empire award from Queen Elizabeth in 1990 for his journalism efforts, died in hospital from sustained injuries; wife Nelli was declared dead at the scene. From this afternoon’s item by Daily News reporter Corky Siemaszko:
Daily News editor-in-chief Colin Myler broke the news to the staff on Monday.
“Brian was a warm, generous and incredibly talented journalist and editor,” Myler said. “He was a mentor to so many Fleet Street journalists who adored him. But above all he was devoted to Nelli and his children and grandchildren. It is such a tragic loss.”
Alexander’s parents were in the U.S. just a few months ago to attend his marriage in Chicago to Sabina Ptacin. The three generations of this storied journalism clan were next scheduled to get together in England over the Christmas holidays. FishbowlNY would like to offer its heartfelt condolences to Hitchen, Ptacin and other members of the family.
Peter Hill, who worked under Brian at the Daily Star and later succeeded him as the publication’s editor, has shared more warm posthumous praise:
“He was hugely respected. He was adored by everyone… even his enemies.”
“I knew Brian for more than 30 years and he really was a genuine legend and will remain so. Not many people fit that description, but he did.”
“He was such a mischievous bugger. That’s what I loved about Brian. He was fun. Always fun. And a great journalist.”
“He is held in enormous regard. I don’t think there is another character left in Fleet Street that people feel so warmly and so affectionately about.”
[Photo of Brian and Nelli Hitchen, taken September 14 at their son’s wedding: Slack Photography LLC]