TRIBUTES have been paid to Granada Reports presenter Tony Morris who has died at the age of 57.

ITV confirmed the popular journalist died at Bury Hospice on Saturday after being diagnosed with kidney cancer last year.

His daughters, Natalie and Rebecca, were at his side.

Morris, who lived in Ramsbottom, had presented Granada Reports for 17 years and continued to appear on the programme until just a few weeks ago.

Paying tribute, Lucy Meacock, his co-presenter throughout that time, said: “He was without doubt one of the most humble, kind and funny people I have ever met, and he would often make me laugh till my sides ached.

"I am so very, very sad and my heart goes out to his daughters Nat and Becky. A smile from Tony Morris always brightened everyone's day and certainly brightened up the whole of the North West for 17 years."

Lucy described Morris as a “great observer of people and a great listener”.

She said both those traits made him a 'wonderful interviewer and a first class journalist'.

“He would always be respectful but would always coax the best interviews out of people and never shy away from a direct question,” Lucy added.

Morris joined BBC Northwest Tonight initially as a reporter for the flagship programme based in Manchester, later going on to present shorter bulletins, usually weekend bulletins and the regional bulletin following the BBC News at Ten.

For a brief period in his latter years with the BBC he worked as a reporter for the national news being based in London.

In 2003, Morris joined ITV Granada as the new male co-anchor alongside Lucy Meacock for Granada Reports following the departures of Antony Wilson and So Rahman.

He helped Granada Reports become the first regional news programme to win a BAFTA, presenting with Meacock the 2007 News Coverage winner about the Morecambe Bay Cockle Picking tragedy.

Prior to being a television journalist and news presenter, Morris, who was born in Hampshire, worked as a DJ and served in the RAF.

Granada’s Head of News, Lucy West, said there would be a special programme at 6pm on Monday to remember Tony and pay tribute to him.

She said: "Tony was a remarkable man; first and foremost he was an amazing dad to his two daughters and our thoughts are with his family.

"A brilliant presenter and journalist who could disarm the most challenging of guests. Tony led our viewers through some of the darkest of days, yet he was always able to offer some reassurance and warmth."

Michael Jermey, director of news and current affairs, ITV, added: "Tony was a great presenter with an instinctive understanding of what would interest his audience.

"He will be missed enormously by everyone who so enjoyed working with him and by viewers who appreciated his warmth, his incisive questioning and his dry sense of humour. Tony’s death is a great loss to news broadcasting."

Viewers can leave their tributes in an online Book of Condolence. The messages will be shared with Tony’s family and friends.