Prominent Belgian columnist Hugo Camps dies at 79

Prominent Belgian columnist Hugo Camps dies at 79
Hugo Camps pictured on the red carpet at the arrival for the 65th edition of the 'Golden Shoe' award ceremony, Wednesday 16 January 2019, in Puurs. Credit: Belga / Yorick Jansens

Family, friends and fans have been paying tribute to journalist and polemicist Hugo Camps, who died at the age of 79 at his home in Knokke on 29 October. He leaves his wife Martine and daughters Eva and Sandra.

Hugo Camps, a journalist, was born in May 1943 in Molenstede in Diest. He was best known in recent years as a columnist for De Morgen, Het Laatste Nieuws and Het Belang van Limburg.

His columns were often uncompromising in their views, which most people would agree is the least you can expect from a columnist. They were also well-informed and expertly written, whether you agreed with his opinions or not.

A memorial was held for family and friends – some of whom were not often terribly friends – in the NTGent theatre, a venue his fans would agree was entirely fitting. Some columnists specialise in explaining the news; some use their column inches for polemic and entertainment.

Camps covered all of that ground. He could often be infuriating, but more often than not it was his intellect and a waspish humour that shone though.

Former Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt described him as “an antidote to the nonsense of social media”.

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"He was someone who could penetrate so deeply into matters with few words. I think that is the most striking," said lawyer Walter Van Steenbrugge.

De mortuis nihil nisi bonem, goes the Latin exhortation, which comes to us originally from the Greek. Of the dead, say nothing but good. The adage may not have described Camps perfectly, but it is fitting for the way in which he parted this world.

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