News of the World Whistleblower Sean Hoare Remembered By Colleagues

The reporter died Monday and is credited as the first person to come forward about the paper's phone hacking practices.

Sean Hoare, the man credited as the first person to go on record about the News of the World's phone hacking practices, is being remembered by collegues as a persuasive, passionate and supportive journalist. Hoare was found dead in Watford, England on Monday.

Nick Davies wrote in a tribute to Hoare Monday that The Sun and NOTW writer decided to speak out about the hacking in a New York Times interview because he wanted to "right a wrong, lift the lid on it, the whole culture." Hoare told Davies, "I know, we all know, that the hacking and other stuff is endemic. Because there is so much intimidation. In the newsroom, you have people being fired, breaking down in tears, hitting the bottle."

PHOTOS: News of the World's Top 10 Scandals

Hoare was dismissed from Rupert Murdoch's News of the World in 2005 for drug and alcohol problems that were exacerbated by his line of work. Davies wrote, "As a show business reporter, he had lived what he was happy to call a privileged life. But the reality had ruined his physical health: 'I was paid to go out and take drugs with rock stars – get drunk with them, take pills with them, take cocaine with them. It was so competitive. You are going to go beyond the call of duty. You are going to do things that no sane man would do. You're in a machine.' "

Hoare's habits eventually caught up with him, as Davies recalled, "In the end, his body would not take it any more. He said he started to have fits, that his liver was in such a terrible state that a doctor told him he must be dead."

Another colleague, Ben Proctor, told The Guardian that Hoare was "imbued with an incredible earthy charm" and could always be relied upon "to persuade people to part with the facts." But he also had an edge, says Proctor, "When I first met him he offered to break my knee caps over some 'creative differences.' But another time, when word went round I had a problem, he was first to my home to lend support. I always loved him, everybody did."

Hoare's attorney, David Sonn, called the death was "a terrible tragedy."

Former Sun editor David Yelland said via Twitter, "Sean Hoare was trying to be honest, struggling with addiction. But he was a good man. My God."

And Guardian reporter Simon Ricketts tweeted, "Sean has his problems, without doubt, but I truly believe he was a victim of that culture," and "I remember a lovely generous man and a hard-working journalist. And I shall raise a glass or 12 tonight to him."

Police are investigating Hoare's death but are not treating it with suspicion