Paris: Journalist Jacques Lhuillery, whose more than three decades with Agence France-Presse took him to three continents, died overnight aged 61, the news agency said on Sunday.
The Tokyo bureau chief died in Brest in western France after a battle with cancer.
"Jacques adored his work as a wire reporter. He had a brilliant career, taking on postings as varied as Tehran, Madrid, The Hague, Beirut, Lagos and Abidjan," said AFP global news director Michele Leridon.
AFP chairman and chief executive Emmanuel Hoog recalled a recent visit to Tokyo during which "this great professional shared with us his love for Japan with passion, enthusiasm and humour".
Lhuillery, who began his tenure with the agency in 1979, was celebrated for his perfect imitations of French presidents.
"He was absolutely hilarious, his sense of humour was incredible," said AFP journalist Pascale Trouillaud. "He was a very warm and endearing person."
Though he was passionate about reporting abroad -- he learned Japanese for his work in Tokyo -- he kept close ties to France.
Lhuillery loved fishing and decorated his office in Japan with a photo of the bay visible from his home in France`s Brittany region.
He was married with five children.