Ben Steppel, the sports editor of the Chichester Observer, has been found dead at home. He was 37.
He was a well-known and popular figure across his patch in Sussex, having also worked at the Worthing Herald, BBC Radio Sussex and Spirit FM. In addition to his sporting interests at work, he was a football referee and cricket umpire.
Steppel was found dead in bed at his Worthing home after he failed to arrive for work in Chichester on Monday morning.
Police say the death is not being treated as suspicious. Steppel was known to have been diabetic and an epilepsy sufferer, and had other health problems.
Steppel had joined the Worthing Herald sports department in October 1998 to report for the Littlehampton Gazette and Shreham and Steyning Heralds. He moved to the Observer in November 2003 to take up the sports editor role.
Herald sports editor Richard Amey said: “Never did he stop talking about his passion, or having an opinion, which he was swift to voice, whether to a lay observer, a manager or captain, or someone else in a position of responsibility.
“If he felt it, or thought it, it needed saying. Likewise writing. Occasionally, he could not help shouting through the wires of impartiality’s cage. And he loved nothing better than watching a game in his leisure time, and taking the liberty of venting the critical side of his nature.”
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