David Ford said: “Jim was a very accomplished journalist and had an excellent career working within the European Commission, BBC, UTV and RTE. The sheer breadth of his achievements illustrates his talent and expertise in both politics and the media.
“Jim was a courageous and meticulous journalist who cut through the spin and got to the real story. He was extremely popular and was a true gentleman. He was always a friendly face amongst the media and his presence will be very much missed.
“I wish to pass on my deepest condolences to his friends and family. I am sure everyone involved in politics and the media will be thinking about them at this time of sorrow.”