Archaeologist and broadcaster Mick Aston, who found fame with TV programme Time Team, has died aged 66.
Close friend and former colleague Phil Harding, who also worked on the popular Channel 4 series, said he had received the news from Professor Aston's son James.
Time Team's official Facebook and Twitter accounts also paid tribute to the retired academic: "It is with a very heavy heart that we've been informed that our dear colleague Mick Aston has passed away. Our thoughts are with his family."
Dr Harding said that although his friend had suffered health problems, learning of his death just two weeks after talking to him on the phone for the last time had come as a shock.
"It just seems so incredible, like a bad dream, but unfortunately this is no dream," the 62-year-old said. "He was a seriously good mate and a seriously good archaeologist, a unique man. Everybody loved him, he just had a way with people. I cannot believe there was anybody who disliked him, he just had such a relaxed way.
"He had incredible knowledge and an effortless way of making archaeology accessible to people."
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