Former Granta magazine editor Ian Jack, who had a long association with India, died on Friday at the age of 77, friends of the family said.

The British journalist edited Granta from 1995 and 2007. From 1991to 1995, he edited the Independent on Sunday, which he co-founded. He was a columnist with The Guardian later and wrote for many other publications, including The London Review of Books and The New York Review of Books.

He has reported extensively on India. He arrived in the country in December 1976 towards the end of the Emergency. Ian is also the editor of The Granta Book of India.

“Journalism is often at its most effective when it remembers its humblest duty – to witness and record,” he observed once.

Read his interview with from 2015 about Indian writing in English here.

Historian Ramachandra Guha on Saturday said that he was deeply saddened to hear about Jack’s death.

“Ian was a brilliant columnist [for The Guardian] as well as a great editor [most famously, of Granta],” Guha wrote. “With this professional distinction went a rare personal decency – he was one of the nicest human beings I have known.”

British journalist Alan Rusbridger said Jack was a warm and generous man.

“A beautiful prose stylist who loved the craft of reporting,” he said. “An outsider with incurable curiosity abt how places, institutions and people worked. A sharp and impish intellect. A nostalgist who lived in the present.”