FORMER Press sports editor and international tennis umpire Malcolm Huntington has died after a short illness, aged 82.

Malcolm, of Heslington, leaves a widow Gina, a daughter Alex Jane and son John, and four grandchildren.

His son-in-law Robert Hardstaff said his health had deteriorated in the past six months, and he had been cared for very recently at St Leonard’s Hospice.

Malcolm covered York City for 45 years and was twice named Yorkshire Sports Writer of the Year and awarded an MBE for his services to local journalism.

He was the paper’s York City writer from 1968 until 1995, having initially been employed at the former Yorkshire Evening Press in August 1949 as a copy boy, running messages and making tea.

After announcing his retirement from journalism in 2013 after a spell of freelancing, he took up the club’s offer of a year-long honorary vice-presidency.

The former four-time York singles tennis champion was well known internationally as a top tennis umpire, overseeing six Wimbledon finals and officiating at two Olympic Games.

He famously clashed with John McEnroe at Wimbledon, who sarcastically told him: “For a guy who can’t add two plus two, you’re doing a wonderful job.”

Malcolm later admitted that McEnroe, who was complaining after being correctly foot-faulted, did have a point. “He was right actually. Maths was my worst subject at school.”

Malcolm was named chief umpire when tennis was trialled as a demonstration sport at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, and oversaw the ladies’ final, won by a German schoolgirl called Steffi Graf, who became a 22-time future Grand Slam winner.

She was only 15 but won the tournament and Malcolm went on to umpire her first Wimbledon final victory four years later against Martina Navratilova.

“Los Angeles was the first time tennis had been in the Olympics since 1928 so to be named chief umpire was a tremendous honour, “ he said later. “I was the only representative from Britain and there were only eight of us there from all over the world.” He went on to officiate at the Seoul Games four years later.