By Ninder Kaur

Following several years of ill health, the writer, who worked at The Observer for half a century, suffered a heart attack this morning.

The award-winning reviewer died two years after retiring.

Philip French
Philip French

He is survived by his wife, Kersti, sons Sean, Patrick and Karl, and 10 grandchildren.

French became one of the country’s best-loved film writers after becoming the chief critic at the Observer in 1978 following a distinguished career at the BBC.

He was named the British Press Awards Critic of the Year in 2009 and given an OBE in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to film. Later that year, when he turned 80, French retired from his position at the Observer, but continued to write every week for the paper.

His son Sean spoke to the Guardian and said:  “He was extremely moral about his work. He didn’t see it in any frivolous way. One of the most shocking things to him was the idea of leaving a screening before the credits had rolled. It was one of the worst signs of decadence.”