Heritage  |  Jul 17, 2014

Anthony Smith dies aged 88

Anthony Smith, writer, explorer, journalist and former Tomorrow's World presenter, has died aged 88 following an acute chest infection. 

Anthony read zoology at Balliol College, Oxford, and became a pilot in the RAF before becoming the Daily Telegraph's science correspondent, as well as writing for natural history programmes. He was perhaps best known as an author for his bestselling work The Body, which sold over 800,000 copies and was adapted into a BBC programme known as The Human Body, presented by Professor Robert Winston. He also wrote several books detailing his travels across the world - including Blind White Fish in Persia about his expedition to Persia where he explored Qanat irrigation tunnels, and Throw Out Two Hands, about his flight in a hot air balloon from Zanzibar to East Africa, then over the Ngorongoro Crater. 

Anthony was an adventurer to the last, and his final book, The Old Man and the Sea, charts his epic journey across the Atlantic on a raft called Antiki, a journey inspired by both the Kontiki Expedition of Thor Heyerdal (who Anthony knew) and the incredible story of the survivors of a 1940 boat disaster. Anthony placed a typically straightforward advertisement in the Telegraph that read "Fancy rafting across the Atlantic? Famous traveller requires 3 crew. Must be OAP. Serious adventurers only." Anthony celebrated his 85th birthday on board the Antiki with his crewmates. The Old Man and the Sea will be published by Constable & Robinson in February 2015.

Anthony was a truly extraordinary character, and his adventurous spirit, irreverent humour and absolute refusal to give up even in the face of what seemed like insurmountable obstacles will not be forgotten.