Malcolm Prescott, who became the youngest Surrey Comet editor aged 27, has died after battling illness for two years.

He worked at Comet for more than 10 years from July 1989, after joining on work experience after studying journalism at Highbury College of Technology.

Mr Prescott, 49, oversaw the Comet while it was the fastest growing newspaper in the South of England and tripled the readership.

He moved to Melbourne, Australia, in 1999 with his wife Libby and their first child Jack, where he edited the Leader Community Newspapers.

Mr Prescott made the move to Brisbane in 2006 with his wife and two sons, where he transferred to Quest Community Newspapers as an editor.

The two sons he had with his wife, from whom he was separated, Jack and Luke, will remember him as a loving father.

As his illness progressed, Mr Prescott worked as a sub editor at the Courier Mail, where he was adored and respected by his colleagues.

Mrs Prescott said: “He was brilliant at his job right to the end.

“He was always seen with a pen behind his ear and a newspaper under his arm.

“Malcolm was very smart, sarcastic and witty.

“He was always the smartest guy in the room but would never show it.

“He loved a good debate and banter and was always telling bad dad jokes.”

Mr Prescott was born in Wimbledon and grew up in New Malden, attending Tiffin School in Kingston.

He was passionate about cricket, Rugby Union and football, and supported the Tottenham Hotspurs and Kingstonian.

He was an avid crossword solver and a frequent visitor of The Fox in Twickenham, which is where he met his wife Libby.

Malcolm Prescott is survived by his sons Jack and Luke Prescott, his parents Louise and Raymond Prescott, his brothers Martin and Harvey and his sister Caroline Burdon.

His funeral will be held in Brisbane on Wednesday, June 27, with family flying from the UK.