The film correspondent of the Irish Times, Michael Dwyer, has died after a short illness. He was 58.

A native of Tralee, Co Kerry, he was one of the founders of the Dublin Film Festival and was honoured by the French government for his contribution to French cinema.

He is survived by his partner Brian, his sisters Anne and Maria, and his mother Mary.

Irish Times editor Geraldine Kennedy said Mr Dwyer’s death will be a loss to the film industry.

Speaking to RTÉ News, Ms Kennedy said that Michael had ‘devoted his whole lifetime to films’.

She added that he was an enthusiastic advocate of cinema from all around the world and recalled that Michael described himself as ‘one of those lucky people in life who was able to pursue his interests and call them work’.

Minister for Art, Sport and Tourism Martin Cullen described Mr Dwyer as the most singular, significant influence on cinema in Ireland for more than three decades.

Mr Cullen said the film community both in Ireland and abroad ‘will miss this distinguished, knowledgeable and popular journalist’.

Film director Neil Jordan has expressed shock at the ‘terribly sad’ news of Mr Dwyer’s death.

Mr Jordan said that, when Michael entered into film criticism, he brought a ‘totally different energy’ to the discipline than had been usual at that time, and ‘made himself into an international figure’, giving film criticism in Ireland ‘a level of depth and integrity that it hadn't had before’.

He said Michael Dwyer always ‘managed to establish a personal contact with whoever he was talking to....whether it was Brad Pitt, or Bruce Willis’.

Film producer, and recently retired as the Director of Film Classification John Kelleher, has described the death as ‘a huge loss for the world of Irish film’, adding the Mr Dwyer was ‘hugely admired and liked’.

Describing Michael Dwyer's contribution to Irish film as ‘really significant’, Mr Kelleher said that, unlike many film critics, Michael ‘was held in a particular affection’.