BBC news giant Hanrahan dies

London: Brian Hanrahan, one of the BBC`s top world affairs reporters of the past 30 years, has died at the age of 61, the corporation announced today. He had cancer.

Hanrahan covered the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Falklands War, the Tiananmen Square massacre, the rise of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and the assassination of Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi.

He also reported from conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo and the Middle East while at the BBC. In Britain, he was best-known for his coverage of the 1982 Falklands War, in particular his memorable way of getting round Ministry of Defence reporting restrictions.

He famously said of Britain`s Harrier jets: "I`m not allowed to say how many planes joined the raid, but I counted them all out, and I counted them all back".

BBC deputy director general Mark Byford said Hanrahan was one of the corporation`s "greatest journalists".

"His work covering the Falklands War produced some of the most memorable war reporting of the last 50 years. His great craft of using words sparingly but powerfully is a lasting memory," he said.

Hanrahan covered the funerals of Diana, princess of Wales and queen Elizabeth, the queen mother.

He also anchored coverage from New York following the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

Hanrahan was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. His condition deteriorated and he was admitted to hospital 10 days ago.

BBC world news editor Jon Williams said Hanrahan had been scheduled to report on the last flight of the Harrier jets last Wednesday.

"On the morning he sent a text to a colleague saying he was just not well enough. He wasn`t well enough because he was in hospital but that`s the measure of the man," he added.