Johannesburg - Veteran South African editor and author Allister Sparks seemed like a man who would live forever, his friend and publisher Jeremy Boraine said on Monday.
“We would meet at a restaurant close to his apartment in Cape Town and I remember that he was no pushover. We often had robust exchanges during the time he was writing his memoirs. He was a passionate man.”
Boraine said Sparks was the longest-serving journalist of his time.
“He knew everything and he had interviewed premiers and presidents. He had covered politics for 66 years, and that to me is his legacy,” he said.
Boraine said he was shocked to learn of Sparks’s death on Monday. He was 83.
“We worked closely on his memoirs and I had spoken to him recently on his projects. We are all sad and a bit shocked. He seemed to be a man who would go on forever.”
Sparks suffered a heart attack after spending 12 days in the Morningside Clinic for treatment of an infection, News24 reported.
He was editor of the Rand Daily Mail and authored a number of books, including the internationally acclaimed “Tomorrow is Another Country”.
His son, Michael, said in a statement that he was announcing his father’s death with a heavy heart.
“It was a real surprise for me when I landed in London to see the message that his heart had stopped and, despite a valiant effort at resuscitation by the medical staff, they were unable to restart it. The medical staff had stopped the sedation yesterday [Sunday] morning, so when I saw him late yesterday afternoon he was able to recognise me,” Michael wrote.
Sparks was editor of the Rand Daily Mail when it broke the so-called Muldergate story in the late 1970s. He was born in Cathcart in the Eastern Cape in 1933 and began to work as a reporter in 1951.
Sparks was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and South African correspondent for a number of international publications, including The Washington Post and The Economist.
His four sons, Michael, Simon, Andrew, and Julian, spent his last days with him.
A memorial is being planned for Friday, October 14 from 11:00, at the Braamfontein Crematorium.
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