The prominent Russian blogger and internet entrepreneur Anton Nossik has died from a heart attack aged 51.
Nossik was often described as the godfather of the Russian internet, co-founding and editing Russia’s biggest online publications.
News of his death has sent shockwaves through Russian social media.
He argued throughout his career that the internet has always been “an island of freedom” and would remain so despite efforts to curtail it.
“It’s simply impossible to believe,” tweeted the opposition politician Ilya Yashin. “Rest in peace, my friend!”
A dual Russian and Israeli citizen, he was outspoken in his condemnation of the government’s efforts to tighten official control over the internet.
Mr Nossik worked as editor of some of Russia’s biggest online news publications including News.ru, Lenta.ru and Gazeta.ru.
“For decades, he has been a prolific blogger of cutting commentaries that spared no one, least of all the Kremlin,” the Moscow Times said,
In 2012 Nossik defended members of the Pussy Riot punk group who had been jailed for staging a performance which criticised President Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral.
Later, he was fined for a blog relating to Russia’s support for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, a country he said should be wiped from the face of the earth.
In the blog he welcomed Russian airstrikes on the country, arguing civilian deaths in Syria were a price worth paying for the destruction of a country he likened to Nazi Germany and was a threat to Israel.