Stuart Ross, Transport for London's Director of News, lost the bravest of battles with cancer on Friday 22 January. He was 42.
No words can really do justice to Stuart's contribution to London and making TfL a world-leading organisation. A deluge of heartfelt tributes from all quarters show just how deeply he will be missed.
Stuart was there at the beginning of TfL's journey in 2000. The Mayoralty had just been created. The first steps were being taken to genuinely integrate transport. The politics were raw.
While many struggled in this high octane environment, Stuart was at home. He shaped the arguments that secured public support for steady and sustained investment in transport. He relished the complexity, the cut and thrust, the madnesses. He simply loved London.
As the best communicator of his generation, he deciphered transport-speak to explain to Londoners what was happening in their city. With typical understatement, he told us recently 'I felt like a round peg in a round hole'.
Managing the swirling media environment with such brilliance is remarkable enough. Keeping your team sane and colleagues calm as well takes someone of an altogether higher calibre. It's macro economics one minute, a signal failure at Acton the next. Stuart had the intellect and energy to master the lot. And he led those working with him with such skill and empathy that they would have followed him to the ends of the earth.
Stuart became a trusted confidante to three Commissioners of Transport and a source of rock solid advice to two Mayors. Journalists trusted and respected his deep integrity, commitment to public service and fearless pursuit of accuracy. Colleagues tell of hearing one of Stuart's trademark phrases when he thought a journalist wasn't quite getting it – 'I think you can sense my frustration ...' .
Over 15 years, Stuart's broad shoulders helped carry London through some of its greatest challenges. He gathered everyone up after the July 2005 bombings. He masterminded the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2007. And he was at the epicentre of the best ever Olympic Games in 2012, transforming the reputation of London and its transport in the eyes of the entire world.
Always putting the needs of others before his own, not once did Stuart ever seek the limelight. He was only ever interested in delivering the right outcome for London.
Stuart's leadership has given numerous other people a start in life. Through an internship scheme he started, young people from all backgrounds have had a chance to make their own way in the communications industry. It is why Stuart could say with immense pride that the diversity of his team truly reflects the city that it serves.
Work was important to him, but his devotion to his family, his humour, his command of world events and his support for Arsenal and Hibernian made sure that he was one of the nicest and most well-rounded world citizens that you will ever meet. Working with him was a joy and privilege for all of us.
Stuart wrote to his colleagues a few weeks before we lost him. David Bowie had just passed on and, in words that only a master communicator like Stuart could conjure, he told us that he too 'was on his farewell tour'. It gave us time to tell him how much we loved him as a friend, colleague and fully paid up member of the human race.
Stuart Ross was a magnificent public servant and elevated all who knew him to a higher plane. He will remain a hero and inspiration to us all. We will also ensure that Stuart's memory will be with us in perpetuity.
Our thoughts are with Becky and Rowan, Stuart's parents and sister, wider family, friends and colleagues.