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Obituary: Rupert Cornwell

Rupert Cornwell, an award-winning foreign correspondent who began his career as a Reuters graduate trainee journalist, died in hospital in Washington on Friday in the presence of his wife Susan, who covers Congress for Reuters, and their two sons.

He was 71 and had been undergoing treatment for cancer.

Cornwell was the younger half-brother of David Cornwell, better known as the author John le Carré.

He was one of Reuters’ graduate intake of 1968.

He reported from Paris, Brussels, Rome, Bonn, Moscow and Washington for Reuters, the Financial Times and The Independent since it was founded in 1986.

During his time in Rome, he wrote God’s Banker, an investigation into the 1982 murder in London of Roberto Calvi, a powerful financier with links to both the Catholic church and the mafia who was found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London.

Christian Broughton, editor of The Independent, tweeted: “We will all miss such a passionate journalist. Rupert's last advice to me: we must not allow Trump to become normalised.”

“Rupert was as humble as he was brilliant, his peerless range extending far beyond the politics of Moscow or Washington, to boxing, ballet and baseball,” Broughton said. “In many ways he was a journalist of a bygone, romantic age, but he will remain an inspiration to generations who have passed through the Independent, and will be missed by all who knew him to be such a warm, lovely man.”

Cornwell continued to write for The Independent - his final dispatches were on the rising power and influence of Ivanka Trump and an obituary of the philanthropist David Rockefeller - up until almost the very end, even as he underwent cancer treatment. ■

The Independent