Journalist counted among greats of BBC dies aged 61

BBC journalist Brian Hanrahan, best known for his coverage of the Falklands War, has died aged 61.

He famously told the nation that he watched Harrier jets take off during the conflict, "counted them all out, and I counted them all back".

The often-quoted line was a way of getting around reporting restrictions imposed by the Ministry of Defence which prevented details of operations being reported.

Among the colleagues who paid tribute was BBC director general Mark Thompson, who said: "Brian was a journalist of unimpeachable integrity and outstanding judgment but his personal kindness and humanity also came through."

He was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and his condition deteriorated when he was admitted to hospital with an infection 10 days ago.

He leaves behind a wife and daughter.

Hanrahan spent 40 years with the BBC reporting from all over the world.

He covered stories such as the assassination of Indira Gandhi in India, the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev in the Soviet Union, the Tiananmen Square massacre and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Fellow BBC reporter Kate Adie said Hanrahan had "a wonderful way with words" and recalled hearing his famous Falklands broadcast.

She said: "It was an extraordinary moment. You heard the words and you knew the import and the way he had delivered it and rightly it has gone into history that phrase."

Mark Byford, deputy director general and head of journalism, said he was one of the "BBC's greatest journalists".

He said Hanrahan was: "A beautiful writer, a beautiful man, whose passion for the BBC and for high standards in journalism inspired us all."