Martin Regan, the co-founder of Hale-based Gateway Gallery, died yesterday after a short illness at the age of 54.
He leaves a wife, Shirley, and four children.
Martin co-founded the Ashley Road art gallery in 2015 having collected and dealt in art for many years, and still worked there on Saturdays.
He was a fellow of the Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and shortly before his death published The Northern School: A Reappraisal, looking at the history and evolution of the art movement in the North West.
Outside of the art world, Martin enjoyed a long career in journalism and publishing.
Originally from Wythenshawe, he was the Financial Times’ North of England correspondent before founding Excel Publishing, where he made his name.
At its peak, it employed more than 100 staff and was the region’s largest independently owned publishing company.
Between 1991 and 2013, he helped grow the firm through magazines such as EN and British Cycling, and also becoming the largest contract publisher of Chamber of Commerce magazines in the country.
In 2013, he sold his 48% stake and turned to regional publishing, setting up Cheshire Today and Macclesfield Today. He was also a chief executive of the English Chess Federation.
Susan Eyres, co-director of the Gateway Gallery, said: “Martin was a man of strong opinions on art and who was not shy of airing them. This made him occasionally a controversial figure, but his knowledge of and passion for art was acknowledged by all. He will be greatly missed.”