LEADING football media figure Stephen Phillips passed away in Melbourne on Wednesday morning after an illness.
He was 62.
Phillips started with The Sun in 1970 before moving to The Australian in 1975 and The Age in 1977, where he primarily covered football.
He then moved to Channel Seven in 1979 as a reporter and presenter as well as appearing regularly on the iconic Sunday morning TV show World of Sport.
He moved again to Channel Nine in 1986, helping to build the Victorian presence on Wide World of Sport alongside Lou Richards, who had also crossed from Seven.
He returned to Seven in 1991 but made his name later on as a writer and producer.
Phillips also hosted dozens of football functions each year, particularly presidents' functions for several Victorian-based clubs, where his deep love and knowledge of the game and his sharp wit came to the fore.
He also co-authored the best-selling Kiss of Death with Richards in the late 1980s.
Phillips was one of the four founders of what was then the Victorian Football Writers Association along with Scot Palmer, Greg Hobbs and Ian McDonald, but which is now the AFL Media Association.
He won several AFL and Victorian Cricket Association awards, was a member of the MCG Media Hall of Fame and was on the selection committee for the Australian Football Hall Of Fame.
A lifelong Melbourne supporter, Phillips joked about being blessed as a youngster but tortured as an adult follower of the Demons.
Just nine when the club won its most recent flag in 1964, Phillips could barely contain his excitement last year when he hosted the 50-year premiership reunion of his childhood heroes at the Bentleigh Club.
As always, the audience was kept thoroughly entertained.
Phillips is survived by wife Jill and children Grace and Tom.