29/12/2012 08:22 GMT | Updated 29/12/2012 09:10 GMT

Lord Rees-Mogg Dead: Former Editor Of The Times Dies, Aged 84

Lord Rees-Mogg, the former editor of The Times, has died at the age of 84.

As William Rees-Mogg, he was editor from January 1967 to March 1981.

His son, the Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, told the paper that the peer had only discovered recently that he had inoperable oesophageal cancer.

Lord Rees-Mogg was also a former vice chairman of the BBC and chairman of the Arts Council.

After his tenure as editor, Lord Rees-Mogg was a columnist highly influential in Tory circles, particularly during the Thatcher and Major governments.

He received a life peerage in 1988 and sat as a cross-bencher, although he had twice in the 1950s stood for Parliament as a Conservative.


Rees-Mogg (right) was editor of The Times from January 1967 to March 1981

Jacob Rees-Mogg told The Times: "It has been a mercifully short illness. He died very peacefully and a member of his family was with him. He was very prepared for it."

Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to Lord Rees-Mogg as a "Fleet Street legend".

"William Rees-Mogg is rightly a Fleet Street legend - editing The Times through a tumultuous period with flair and integrity," he said.

"I always found him full of wisdom and good advice - particularly when I first became Leader of the Opposition.

"My thoughts are with his wife and five children at this sad time."