Randall also wrote for The Independent, from 1998 to 2013Francesca Leonardi/FLICKR

David Randall, a former assistant editor of the Observer and writer for Varsity, has died aged 70.

Randall studied economics at Clare College, Cambridge and, upon the invitation of editor Jeremy Paxman,began writing for Varsity, including contributing to a weekly column titled Adventures of Druisilla Nutt-Tingler.

The Guardian reported that Randall passed away while working on a new edition of his book, Suburbia, at his desk. The book recounts Randall’s experiences growing up in the suburbs.

Randall became a trainee reporter for the Croydon Advertiser in 1974, and became the editor in 1980. The paper had the biggest circulation of a local newspaper in Britain. In the same period, Randall also freelanced for various national newspapers, and joined the Observer in 1981 as deputy sports editor. He later went on to become assistant to Donald Trelford, the paper’s editor.

Randall also worked internationally, running a national appeal in Rwanda, as well as advising newspapers, including Kenya’s Sunday Standard and the Moscow Times on technology and design. He taught journalism across Africa, Russia and Central Asia, experiences which led him to write the 1996 book The Universal Journalist, which remains a widely studied journalism textbook.

Before retiring, Randall became a senior editorial executive for the Independent.

He leaves behind his wife Pam, their four sons, and four grandchildren.