A FORMER Argus deputy editor has died unexpectedly, aged 69.

Chris Chandler worked at the paper for about 20 years in the Eighties and Nineties, joining as deputy editor and going on to become editor of the company’s weekly Leader series.

He was described as in “fine form” as recently as last week but was taken to hospital on Tuesday with a brain bleed.

Despite treatment, he died not long afterwards.

Argus columnist and one-time chief reporter Adam Trimingham, worked with Chris for many years.

Adam, 76, said: “He loved the paper, the paper was his life.

“In a profession where people come and go a lot he was a rock.”

Adam described Chris as a calming presence in the newsroom.

He said: “He was very fair and always kept his head.

“If something went wrong he would not go around shouting the place down, he would just remain calm and work to put it right.

“Some editors like the limelight, but Chris wasn’t like that.

“He preferred to be back in the newsroom doing what he loved.”

He grew to know the paper and its audience inside out and was always first to advise Adam on what to write about in his comment section.

What is more, Adam said he was always right.

He said Chris joined at a time when The Argus was making the switch from typewriters to computers.

He said: “He handled it very well and was a very good layout man.

“He had a real eye for it.”

Adam said the news of Chris’s death had been very sudden.

He said: “I was shocked to find out. He always seemed very fit and he and his wife were very passionate about their ballroom dancing.

“I was really surprised by the news and deeply saddened.”

Argus production editor Kate Parkin also worked with Chris for many years.

She said: “He was a devoted company man, always calm and professional. I never once saw him get riled with anyone.

“He was immaculately turned out – always in a crisp shirt and highly polished shoes.

“He often performed some of his ballroom dancing moves, sashaying through the newsroom.”

Chris, who lived in Telscombe Cliffs with his wife Roberta, was still working in journalism.

In the last ten years he had decided to pass on some of his industry secrets and became a teacher at Brighton Journalist Works, a media training centre in New England Road.

He taught several of the current Argus staff and gave many aspiring journalist their first experiences of courtrooms and public meetings.

He had been due to take a group of trainees to court yesterday.

Chris would also hold mock press conferences in which he would take on a fictional character and be interviewed by students.

No matter how distracting the questions, Chris never broke character.

Many of his students posted tributes to the much-loved mentor on social media.

His funeral will be held at the North Chapel at Woodvale Crematorium in Brighton on Friday, April 26.