President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to author and former RTÉ journalist Liam Cahill, who died yesterday.

The President said he learned of his death with "great sadness" as Mr Cahill had been due to visit the Áras shortly with his latest book.

Mr Cahill joined RTÉ News in 1979 and was both an Economic Correspondent and Political Correspondent in the 1980s.

Over his 11 years at the station, the Waterford native also made documentaries and was a regular contributor to Irish language programming.

In a varied career Mr Cahill later worked in public relations for both AIB and Intel, served as Director of Communications for the Labour Party, and was also a special adviser to Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly and others.

He also founded and edited the popular GAA website An Fear Rua.

In recent years, Mr Cahill had concentrated on history and writing, publishing several books, including Forgotten Revolution: The Limerick Soviet 1919.

In a statement, President Higgins said the contribution Mr Cahill made to Irish life was a "wide and varied one" and "included his work, his research, and his writing as a journalist, historian, and as an adviser across political and public affairs.

"To all of this he brought a well-informed, humorous and passionate spirit. To all of his many endeavours he brought, and has left, a particular personal legacy."

The President said he had the privilege of engaging with Mr Cahill many times over the years and that he was due to visit Áras an Uachtarain to give him a copy of his most recent book, 'From Suir to Jarama'.

"It is a great sadness that we will not get the opportunity to have that meeting," the President said.

He extended his deepest sympathies to Mr Cahill's daughter Susan, his son Eoin and "to all of his wider family, and his many friends across the political spectrum."