Author and former Eastbourne Herald reporter John Dyson has died at the age of 77.
John, from Polegate, was well-known as the author of 59 Western novels.
His son Dominic said, “Following a decade living with prostate cancer, John’s health was declining and he bravely chose to take his own life at Beachy Head on June 14. We think he did not want to go back into hospital.”
Mr Dyson worked for the Herald in the early 1950s, joined the Brighton Argus in 1955 but retired from journalism to work alongside his father as a gardener for Langney Priory.
Dominic said, “He loved the outdoor life – I think this inspired his writing and of course he grew up in an era when Westerns were massively popular. He was an unconventional man with a great sense of humour, a real individual and the Wild West appealed to him. He might have thought of himself as a bit of an outlaw.”
Although he never visited the USA his books were praised for breathing new life into an old genre and were admired by reviewers. Dominic said he was never happy unless every detail was accurate and authentic.
John was born near Brighton and lived close to the coast all his life, loving the countryside, walking and swimming, particularly near Meads and at Birling Gap. He was proud to have cared for the downland garden of Sir Dennis and Lady Healey near Alfriston and the immaculate gardens of Deans Place Hotel.
He leaves grandsons Alfie and George and a sister. There was a celebration of his life at Jevington Village Hall on July 3 for close friends and family.
He left part of his estate to animal welfare charities such as East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service.